2.9 The Abandoned Olympian
*A word of warning. This episode contains two instances of a starter pistol. Listener discretion is advised.*
[[SFX: Music cues in. Peri brushes her teeth. She finishes up and steps out, walking down the steps, humming. A whistle blowing grows louder and she strides across the first floor to the camp stove and turns it off. She pours tea, still humming. Benny walks down the steps, yawning.]]
BENNY: I missed that.
BENNY: Your humming.
PERI: Oh, right. Yeah, me too.
BENNY: And you too. I mean, you know. The Peri that you are, not the Peri that… I mean, change is fine, and different is cool but like, you... you changing not things changing you, it’s okay if you wanna change and I’m cool with like, a new Peri, yeah--
PERI: Benny, it’s too early in the morning for this. Thanks, I know what you mean, [ sets down the tea] now drink your tea.
BENNY: Right. Thanks.
[[SFX: Benny and Peri struggle their way through the terrain. Insects hum.]]
BENNY: Can I float an idea by you?
BENNY: Okay, now, keep an open mind…
PERI: I already don’t like the sound of this.
BENNY: Well, I was just thinking. With how weird the world is… what if… Ace isn’t in it?
[[SFX: They stop walking.]]
PERI: How do you mean?
BENNY: I mean, what if there are other buildings that go into the fog or… other ways to go into it and, I was just thinking…
PERI: What if Ace is in there.
BENNY: Right! Exactly.
PERI: He’s not.
BENNY: But how do you know?
PERI: We’re not going into the fog, Benny.
BENNY: But don’t you want to--
PERI: End of discussion.
[[SFX: They continue walking. Peri sighs. A gust of wind.]]
BENNY: Okay, this place is definitely haunted.
PERI: I don’t even know what this place is.
BENNY: Looks like some sort of sports facility?
PERI: Last time anybody played sports in here was probably decades ago.
BENNY: Oh shit.
BENNY: They had the olympics here, look.
[[SFX: Peri walks over then stops.]]
BENNY: You know one of my sisters almost qualified?
PERI: Get outta town!
BENNY: Yeah, javelin.
PERI: (sighs) Wish I could do that. I never really took to sports. Kept getting hit in the face by the ball. Never knew if it was on purpose or not.
[[SFX: The distant sound of running.]]
BENNY: You hear that?
BENNY: Let’s stay on our toes.
[[SFX: They continue walking.]]
[[SFX: Peri hums. A lone whistle blows in the distance.]]
[[SFX: She picks up the pace to catch up.]]
PERI: I’m beginning to see what you meant. This place is weird.
PERI: Okay, yeah, haunted.
[[SFX: They hear the roar of a crowd in the distance.]]
BENNY: Though that’s a lot of people to be haunting a place.
PERI: It’s... coming from the stadium.
[[SFX: She wanders towards it.]]
BENNY: This is the part of the movie where the friend says no, let’s not go towards whatever is making the sound in the abandoned place and then later gets killed after the protagonist ignores the- yeah she’s not listening.
[[SFX: He runs to catch up.]]
[[SFX: They enter the stadium. The crowd roars.]]
PERI: Benny, what’s…
[[SFX: The crowd goes silent for a moment.]]
GLEN: You walk out and you are a hero.
[[SFX: Close by footsteps. Athletes brush by the two of them. The sound of the crowd grows again.]]
GLEN: You stride around the stadium, surrounded by your team.
You think that your ears will never stop ringing.
You are smiling.
You cannot believe you are there.
But the years, decades, even...
All that work believes otherwise.
You look around and know
Glen: everyone’s hearts
beating fast, so fast.
Tonight, you are all heroes.
In the coming weeks, you all will discover if you will become gods.
But in that moment, you don’t feel the weight of that possibility.
In that moment, it is enough to be a hero.
Days later, you think you can still hear the roar.
In the weeks following, that smile lingers.
[[SFX: The heartbeat fades.]]
[[SFX: Starter pistol. A moment later, the crowd roars. Footsteps gain speed.]]
GLEN: Gunshot goes off and you are racing to become a god.
No, you are racing to discover if you have been one this whole time.
Left right left right
Breathe breathe breathe
None of that matters to a god
Everyone in the pack knows this
Some of them convince themselves their bodily limits are of no consequence
Of course they are a god
Some of them know their mortality all too well
And the certainty of godliness belongs not in their minds
Then there those who do not think at all
They don’t need to
The magnitude of their existence in this body which has no limit
Left right left right
Each footfall the only thing in the universe that matters
Confirmation as you cross the finish line
Your status sealed.
[[SFX: Every sound vanishes in an instant. Benny and Peri gasp as if coming up for air.]]
BENNY: What- where did it all go?
PERI: I don’t… I don’t know. Oh. Benny, there’s another person across the field.
PERI: He’s walking toward us now.
BENNY: Should we run?
PERI: Something tells me there wouldn’t be a point.
[[SFX: The footsteps near then stop.]]
GLEN: It’s been a while since I’ve seen living faces.
GLEN: Hello. The name’s Glen. Yours?
BENNY: Benny and this is--
PERI: Peri. Nice to meet you.
BENNY: What are you doing here, Glen?
GLEN: Existing. What are you two doing here?
GLEN: Let’s play something!
GLEN: C’mon, no one but taggers visit here. This is a sports facility, let’s play some sports!
PERI: I... don’t play sports.
GLEN: No? Not even ping pong?
[[SFX: Glen bounces a ball on a paddle, hits it hard, smashing it onto the wall.]]
GLEN: Or how ‘bout archery?
[[SFX: The creak of a string being pulled back, the release of an arrow then smack as it hits a target.]]
BENNY: I was more of a tennis guy.
GLEN: Ooo, I’ve never played against someone in tennis, wanna play? I’m not very good.
BENNY: Uh, s-sure.
GLEN: You win….hm…. you get this shiny medal, I win and I get to compete again. Against her.
PERI: Benny, this doesn’t feel like a good idea.
BENNY: C’mon, Peri, it’s, uh, just for fun.
GLEN: Yeah, c’mon Peri.
[[SFX: Benny and Glen face off in a tennis match. They hit the ball back and forth, grunting, sweating, running.]]
GLEN: Ha! That was nothing but net, buddy.
BENNY: I thought you said you never played before.
GLEN: I’ve never played someone but I’ve had plenty of practice against myself.
[[SFX: More breathing. Hitting the ball. SMACK.]]
GLEN: ACE AND THE CROWD GOES WIIIILD.
[[SFX: Benny runs over to Peri.]]
BENNY: This guy…
PERI: Bad news? I told you, Benny.
[[SFX: Glen walks over, stretching.]]
GLEN: Damn, that felt good. Woo! It has been a while, I tell ya.
PERI: What sport?
PERI: That was the deal, you win, we play. What sport? What’s the prize.
GLEN: We’ll figure that out in a little bit. Here, lemme show you around more.
BENNY: (to Peri, low) Peri…
PERI: Something tells me we don’t have much of a choice right now. (to Glen, catching up) So, Glen. How long you been around here?
GLEN: Long enough.
PERI: But how long?
GLEN: Let’s just say the rise and fall of the moon and sun don’t mean much to me anymore.
PERI: You don’t look old enough to talk like that.
GLEN: Well, you don’t look old enough to have eyes like that and yet here we are, shaped by our experiences, whittled away by our mistakes.
BENNY: But it doesn’t seem like you’re free to move. Leave, I mean.
GLEN: Perhaps not.
PERI: Why do you… did you like running?
GLEN: You picked up that, huh. (chuckles) For me… it was what I was best at… it was freedom. It was being able to trust my body to do what it needed to do to get me to where I wanted to be.
PERI: What if you didn’t know where you wanted to be?
GLEN: Never occurred to me.
[[SFX: They stroll.]]
GLEN: Hey, did you ever play that hand game as a kid? Y’know, clap your hands, agree on a location and run there and back?
BENNY: The only hand game I remember had something to do with a steamboat.
PERI: Please let me show you how fast I can run.
GLEN: Yeah, that’s the one! Whenever I played as a kid, I’d win so after a while I realized, wow, I could get a medal for doing this. Y’know, just running as fast as I could. Pretty cool. Want us to show you?
[[SFX: Peri and Glen play the hand clap game.]]
PERI/ GLEN: Please let me show how fast I can run. How fast I can run. How fast I can run. Please let me show how fast I can run. How fast I can run. How fast I can run. Wait until the count five and run to the
PERI: Stands GLEN: Post
PERI: Post. GLEN: Stands.
PERI: Post. GLEN: Post.
PERI/ Glen: If you’re last to run back you become the ghost. You become the ghost. You become the ghost. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.
[[SFX: A moment. A breath. Glen takes off. Peri takes a deep breath, thinking.]]
BENNY: Oh no. Peri--
PERI: Sh. I think… hold on.
[[SFX: She sets off. Walking. Purposeful walking. Glen runs by her. She makes it to the post, then walks purposefully back, trying to keep her breathings steady.]]
GLEN: You’re last.
PERI: I know.
GLEN: That’s the deal.
PERI: No it’s not. We agreed last to run back. I walked.
PERI: Last to run back becomes the ghost.
GLEN: No, that… that can’t…
PERI: I’m sorry but… you tried to trick me so I had to be tricky too and… and I know you don’t wanna be here but you can’t just trick somebody into doing what you want.
GLEN: This isn’t fair! I won, I won the game.
BENNY: But you didn’t! She found a loophole.
GLEN: You can’t do that, I can’t be kept here, I want to leave, I want to…
[[SFX: Glen falls to his knees.]]
GLEN: The world needs to know that I can still beat it that I’m… I thought I was a god but… I’m nothing more than… than a stubborn whisper refusing to fall silent.
[[SFX: Peri slowly gets down on her knees.]]
PERI: Most of us are stubborn whispers and that’s… that’s okay, Glen.
[[SFX: Glen inhales deeply and stands, helping Peri back to her feet.]]
GLEN: No, it’s not. Not for me. I will not end that way. Here.
[[SFX: He hands her a starter pistol.]]
GLEN: You just raise that in the air and fire.
[[SFX: Glen walks over to his place on the track.]]
[[SFX: KAPOW Glen runs around the track, that all too familiar crowd returning, phantoms cheering for their long forgotten god and… it all slowly fades away.]]
BENNY: He’s gone.
BENNY: Wanna go back? Feels like we’re done here.
PERI: Yeah, let’s… let’s go.
The Far Meridian
Created by Eli Barraza, produced by Eli Barraza & Mischa Stanton.
This episode was written by Eli Barraza. And directed by Eli Barraza & Danielle Shemaiah.
Performed by Eli Barraza as Peri,
José Donado as Benny,
And Joshua Nicholas as Glen.
Editing by Eli Barraza. Sound design by Mischa Stanton. Music by Masato Abe.
For more information and transcripts, visit TheFarMeridian.com, or find us on social media @TheFarMeridian. You can also help support us on Patreon, Patreon.com/TheFarMeridian.
Until next time, may you always find your way.