2.2 Take Flight

[[SFX: Light, bright piano music for an ad.]]

ELI BARRAZA: Are you looking for another audio drama podcast with gentle surrealism, missing siblings, agoraphobia, and maybe even the occasional light house? Greater Boston is an alt-universe urban fantasy featuring intersecting plot lines, and characters who form a brand new city in a very unusual place. I’ve been a huge fan of it myself for the past 2 seasons, and I cannot wait to find out what happens in Season 3, which just started last week. If you love wandering with us, then you’ll find yourself right at home in Greater Boston. I know I have. Subscribe now wherever podcasts are found.

-Scene 01-

[[SFX: Music fades. Title Music fades in, somber. The static of an airline pilot's announcement.]]

PILOT: Cabin crew, please prepare for takeoff.

[[SFX: An airplane gears up and takes off. Light piano comes in then fades....]]

[[SFX: An airplane prepares for take-off. Seatbelts buckled. Phone click to airplane mode. A baby murmurs.]]

PILOT: Good evening everyone this is your pilot speaking. We are cruising at a cool 36,000 feet at around 550 miles per hour. We may get a little turbulence during the later half of this flight but we should be seeing clear skies for most of the way. Please remember to keep your seatbelts securely locked and fastened when the seatbelt sign is lit and while seated. We hope you have an enjoyable flight.

[[SFX: Peri fiddles with the walkie talkie. On. Off. On. Off. On Off.]]

AARON: That’s probably not good you know.

PERI: What.

AARON: Walkie talkies don’t exactly have an airplane mode.

PERI: Oh, sorry. I was... thinking... didn’t realize.

AARON: All good, I’d just rather not have the plane crash because someone thought to turn on a walkie-talkie. [softly laughs] How old is that thing anyway?

[[SFX: Peri sighs. Another talker.]]

AARON: I’m Aaron by the way.

PERI: Yeah, if you don’t mind, I think I’d rather just not talk.

AARON: Oh. Sorry.

PERI: Or listen. Really. Ah, sorry.

AARON: No, it’s fine. I get it. Red eye flight, you probably want to sleep. Well, um, let me know if you need to get up to use the bathroom or whatever. You can have my armrest! Since you’re the middle seat and all.

[[SFX: Peri doesn’t respond. ]]

AARON: Alright then.

[[SFX: She puts the walkie talkie in her backpack. Zips it up. The other seatmate speaks up.]]

ANYA: Excuse me, do you mind if I open the window?

AARON: Oh, not at all, go ahead.

ANYA: I just like looking at the stars but if it bothers you, I can close it.

AARON: No problem on my end.  (to Peri) Hey, you mind if she opens the window?

PERI: Sure.

[[SFX: Anya slides open the window.]]

AARON: Wow, we’re pretty high up.

ANYA: Not a lot of stars though.

AARON: We’re at kind of a weird vantage point.

[[SFX: Peri sighs, annoyed.]]

ANYA: Hm, can see the moon at least.

ANYA & AARON: There’s a man on the moon made of cheese. [they laugh]

ANYA: You grow up with that saying too?

AARON: Yeah, I mean I think so. Clearly, if I just said it. I’m Aaron by the way.

[[SFX: Peri sighs, settling into sleep.]]

ANYA: (playful) I heard. My name’s Anya.             AARON:  Anya?

ANYA: How’d you guess?

AARON: I dunno, you seem like an Anya.

[[SFX: A soft snore from Peri as the plane fades out.]]

-Scene 02-

[[SFX: Silence. Then, the slight sound of rain. It grows... there’s the thunder. It fades. Peri hums her mother's lullaby. A light switch. Flicked up and down. Footsteps.]]

ACE: Was that the song?

PERI: Mm?

ACE: That mom would hum.

[[SFX: He hums the same song. But… there’s something off about it.]]

PERI: Yeah. But it goes more like this.

[[SFX: She hums it, trying to right him but… she can’t remember the rest. She stops then starts. Stops then starts. Stops then--]]

PERI: Um? 

[[SFX: Thunder. The rain. Haunting voices echo.]]

RUTH: (singing in a minor key) Oh my darlin’ oh my darlin’ oh my darlin’ Clementine

BENNY: PERI!

RUTH: You are gone now lost forever

BENNY: PERI! GET AWAY!! PERI!!

RUTH: Dreadful sorry Clementine.

[[SFX: Turbulent Thunder. Turbulence.]]

-Scene 03-

[[SFX: Peri wakes up, gasping. Turbulence rocks the plane. The ding of the seatbelt sign.]]

PERI: What’s happening?

ANYA: It’s that turbulence the pilot talked about.

AARON: You okay, buddy?

PERI: I’m fine. [through gritted teeth.] And I'm not your buddy.

ANYA: (to Aaron) I used to be the same way when something scared me.

AARON: Same here.

ANYA: The similarities keep piling up.

[[SFX: A pocket of turbulence. The plane drops.]]

PERI: Can you guys please shut up?

ANYA: It’s okay to be scared honey.

PERI: I’m not scared.

AARON: Really? Because I am right now.

[[SFX: Peri's breath comes out in gasps.]]

ANYA: Here, take my hand.

[[SFX: Anya hums above the turbulence. A melody different than Peri’s dream.]]

PERI: Please stop, please stop.

[[SFX: The Tattered Woman’s voice is a whispered memory, an echo.]]

TATTERED WOMAN: Oh dearest, that wasn’t very kind.

ANYA: Okay, okay. I’m sorry.

AARON: I think she’s gonna have a panic attack.

ANYA: Hey, what’s your name, sweetie?

PERI: Um, Peri.

ANYA: My name’s Anya. Can you focus on my voice, Peri?

PERI: I don’t, I don't wanna, I don’t want to talk to anybody, I shouldn’t have left, I shouldn’t have left.

[[SFX: The turbulence rises again.]]

ANYA: Listen to me Peri, you’re gonna be okay. Your brain feels stuck right now but listen to my voice, we’re going to get through this.

PERI: I can’t, I can’t, I can’t do this anymore.

AARON: Here, it’s okay. You can take my other hand, here. Take a deep breath.

PERI: I don’t want to.

[[SFX: The turbulence rises again.]]

PERI: I wanna be alone, just leave me alone.

ANYA: Okay, okay. When something scary happens, it can feel even scarier to ask for help but… feelings can lie, Peri. You don’t have to go through this alone.

[[SFX: Peri takes a deep breath. The turbulence lessens.]]

ANYA: There you go.

[[SFX: Quiet, passengers settling.]]

PILOT: Well folks, looks like we made it through the worst of it. Not quite clear skies yet but we’re still on track to arrive on time. Cabin crew will be by with drinks and snacks once I turn off the seatbelt sign.

[[SFX: Peri breathes through her nose, quick breaths.]]

ANYA: How are we doing?

AARON: Good, good. Thought the oxygen masks were gonna drop any second. How about you buddy? Oh sorry, you don’t wanna be called buddy, sorry. Sorry.

[[SFX: The seatbelt sign goes off.]]

PERI: I’m... okay.

ANYA: Are you travelling alone?

PERI: Yeah.

AARON: Meeting someone at the airport I hope.

PERI: Yeah.

AARON: I hope they’re someone you want to be meeting.

PERI: I-I don’t know. I thought I knew but I keep getting all mixed up.

ANYA: Do you feel safe meeting this person?

PERI: Yeah, yeah it’s not like that, they’re-they're fine I just…

AARON: Been through a lot, huh.

PERI: [laughs under her breath] In a manner of speaking, yeah.

[[SFX: They quiet. Shift in their seats.]]

PERI: How come you two talk like that?

AARON: Like what?

PERI: Like… nevermind, it’s stupid.

ANYA: It’s okay, you say it.

PERI: Like you’re… it just feels like I’m talking to the same person? Y'know,  talking to the two of you. But you just met, I heard you guys just meet.

[[SFX: The flight attendant wheels the drinks cart over.]]

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Can I get you anything? Water, soda, chips, pretzels, headphones, blankets, eye masks, ear plugs, you didn’t hear from me but there’s a baby a few rows ahead of you that miiight wake up, we also have honey roasted peanuts, lightly salted peanuts, you name it, what would you like?

ANYA & AARON: Just water, please.

PERI: I’ll take... pretzels and a water please.

[[SFX: The flight attendant hands over their requests and continues on.]]

AARON: It’s not what you think, y’know.

ANYA: It’s not… romantic or anything.

PERI: I wasn’t thinking that.

AARON: Oh.

ANYA: We spoke a lot, while you were asleep and we just…

AARON: It’s like that physics thing!

PERI: What physics thing?

ANYA: Right! Quantum tangles?

AARON: Entanglement!

ANYA: Where there are two particles in different locations but they’re actually one particle? Wait, lemme try that again.

AARON: It’s one particle, two locations?

ANYA: Right, neither of us are physicists so we might have that wrong but that’s the best way to describe it.

AARON: And it’s not a romantic thing, like Anya said. Like, I know people fall in love at first sight but being in love with her...

ANYA: It’s like being in love with yourself. Which, we’re not. We’re just…

PERI: The same.

AARON: Yeah but we didn’t know it til we met.

ANYA: It’s very confusing, we’re still figuring it out.

PERI: What’s it like?

AARON: Like… when she tells me something it feels like I’m remembering it instead.

ANYA: Like the worst case of deja vu while looking in the mirror and even though the mirror doesn’t show the face you usually see, it’s still you.

PERI: [laughs] Sounds like you’re more mixed up about things than me.

AARON: Yeah. But we’re sorting it out I think. We will, at least.

ANYA: Sorry if this sounds… insane.

PERI: [genuinely laughs] I guarantee you, I’ve heard wilder things. Whether or not I think it’s stupid or crazy doesn’t matter.

[[SFX: A moment. A shift.]]

ANYA: Is there someone on the other end of your walkie talkie? Saw you playing with it earlier.

PERI: No, not right now. But… I think they’re hoping to be on the other end. At some point.

AARON: Do you hope they’re on the other end at some point?

PERI: That’s another thing I’m all mixed up about.

ANYA: You’ll get it sorted out.

AARON: Or you won’t. Either way, the sun still rises and stars still shine and you might even change to the point where it doesn’t matter anymore.

PERI: That’s... unsettling.

AARON: Sorry. I thought that was gonna end a lot more hopeful.

[[SFX: They chuckle.]]

-Scene 04-

[[SFX: The passengers exit the plane.]]

PILOT: Thank you for flying with us. Hope to see you soon. Thank you for…

[[SFX: The pilot fades as Peri walks away, leaning on her cane, walking up the hallway to the gate.]]

ANYA: Did you need help or anything?

PERI: Nope! I’m okay.

[[SFX: They emerge into the gate. Continue walking past security.]]

AARON: You goin’ to baggage claim?

PERI: No, this is all I have.

ANYA: I guess this is where we part then. It was really nice to be your seatmate, Peri.

PERI: It was nice to be yours, I guess.

AARON: Hey, um, before we go our separate ways, um. You know you can turn on that walkie-talkie now, since we’re off the plane.

PERI: I know.

ANYA: Sorry, we mean… turning it on might be a way for you to find out if you do hope that someone is on the other end. It may help you… get sorted out.

PERI: You know... you guys can just say take care.

ANYA & AARON: Take care, buddy.

PERI: Take care, buddy.

[[SFX: They walk away. Peri sits down and unzips her backpack, takes out the walkie-talkie. Turns it on, switches it to the right channel. Presses the talk button.]]

PERI: Um. Hi. Benny. If you’re there. It’s Peri. [sighs] I hope…uh, I hope you can hear me. Please be there, Benny.

[[SFX: A far off voice. Misheard in the crowd and certainly not through the walkie.]]

BENNY: Peri! 

[[SFX: She clicks the talk button again.]]

PERI: Benny?

BENNY: [far off, misheard] Peri!

PERI: Benny? Benny!

[[SFX: Peri stands, looking for Benny.]] 

PERI: Oh, I thought he was... but it was probably just her. 

[[SFX: She looks and finds a different familiar face.]]

PERI: Wait. Hey! HEY, OVER HERE! Hey! Dad!

[[SFX: The light piano notes. Credits.]]


The Far Meridian

Created by Eli Barraza, produced by Eli Barraza & Mischa Stanton.

This episode was written & directed by Eli Barraza.

Performed by Eli Barraza as Peri, Noah Gildermaster as Ace, José Donado as Benny, Danielle Shemaiah as Ruth, Lily Richards as the Tattered Woman,  Paul Bae as Aaron, Nadine El-Amami as Anya, Cesar Muñoz as the Pilot, and Larianny Perez as the Flight Attendant. Editing by Erin Bark. Sound design by Mischa Stanton. Music by Masato Abe

For more information and transcripts, visit Whisperforge.org/TheFarMeridian , or find us on social media @TheFarMeridian. You can also help support us on Patreon, Patreon.com/TheFarMeridian.

Due to the needs of production, the third episode of this season will release one week later than usual on October first so until then, may you always find your way.