Part 21: Breakthrough - Downtown BluesLet's go see how the financially defunct sadtown is doing TODAY. Maybe... good? I mean, we're feeling hopeful, so that should affect everybody!
Do we really still need to establish that Beth is Good? I think we've got that.
Let's see how 'ol Spooks McDooks is:
Any folklore about miracle cures?
- Any folklore about miracle cures,
in any of these books of yours?
- Miracle cures in lore, is oft a curse in disguise.
It is offered as manna, but damnation gives rise.
Well! Nothing to read into there! MOVIN' ON
- Of course, other cultures see it as being the chosen one.
You can choose to believe one, or the other, or none...
Winter is getting close...
- Winter is ever closer, I can feel it in the air.
As my cheeks get rosy, my heart fills with despair...
Don't let Henry write Christmas carols.
- The passing of the season into wintertime,
is hard for those that are past their prime.
- Their own mortality reflected in the low winter sun.
Knowing all too well, their decline has now begin.
What do you think happens after we die?
- What do you think happens after we die?
Do we go to some magical place in the sky?
- I hold no answers for what awaits our final eve.
What's more important is, what do you believe?
Is it? WHY is it.
(There's a meaningless ((as far as I know)) choice here, so I'll make it for us)
I'm not so sure anymore...
- I don't know what to believe anymore...
These last few days... Before I was so sure...
- Fear of the unknown is what makes us as humans weak.
But the uncertainty of death offers no knowledge to seek...
With that ray of sunshine, we go see our friend, who, again, expected that he would be making more than three times what he used to just to break even, which is why he joined this franchise!
How's the family?
- How has business been today?
How is your wife - is you child at play?
- I would not know, for, yo usee,
my wife packed up, and left me.
- I can't believe your wife left, that's such a shame.
Is it the cashflow problem that is to blame?
TAKE A WILD GUESS, SOCRATES.
- Yes, the writings [sic] on the wall, I have no reason left to life.
This shop has drained my bank account, and bled me dry.
With that out of the way, this next question is especially mean and stupid. JUST OUR STYLE!
Why not hold a seasonal sale?
- Hey, here's a brilliant idea on how to get the profits flowing!
Hold a seasonal sale! That'll get the customer base growing!
I love how Henry's idea of a successful store is just Wal-Mart. Sell everything, no matter how little it relates to your store's purpose, and have fun little sales.
"Pumpkin Spice Vicodin!"
- In case yoou hadn't notice [sic], everything is already on sale!
I can't believe this is happening, the store is going to fail!
What an insane way for this story to end, after you pumped a huge amount of money into a fancy makeover for your small pharmacy in a dying neighborhood. Gosh.
The occult shop owner sure is strange huh?
- That occult shop owner sure is strange, right?
Though despite his appearance, he seems pretty bright...
I feel like "the occult shop owner sure is strange" is probably one of things you could say about any occult shop owner anywhere.
- He's a bit eccentric, but he's a warm soul
He's always friendly, without a sinister end goal.
This really feels more like a day 1-2 conversation.
Well, let's go talk to somebody who's business never runs out! The guy supplying the alcoholics!
Are you married?
- Have you been married, perhaps you still are?
Maybe you swooned her with an acoustic guitar.
Yeah maybe he did Henry. Who knows.
- My left me ten years ago this week.
Boy did she have the best little physique.
Remember anything else about her? No? Just askin'
Why did your wife leave?
- What happened between you two that made her leave?
You weren't always bitter about life, I perceive.
Sheesh Henry! He might not want to t-
- She left me for cutting off her free alcohol supply.
She overdosed and died, at a party on the Fourth of July.
You know, I think there's a Hallmark card specifically for that situation.
Any thoughts on the homeless problem?
- What do you think of the homeless epidemic?
Or is that a question that's too academic?
Yeah, enough with your ivory-tower nonsense talk about this real and present problem.
- I don't have an opinion, sucks to be them I guess.
Sucks to be me too, we're all under endless stress...
What's with the creepy kid at the playground?
- What's with that lone child, alone at the playground?
He's looking so hopelessly saddened and down.
This ALSO seems like a day 2 conversation. No idea
- I don't know nothing about no kid in the park.
That being said, I won't go there after dark...
Liquor store guy knows what's up. It's a demon or SOMETHIN'. I dunno pal, I just woik heah.
Is there any hope for this place?
- Is there any hope for this place?
Or will it all disappear without a trace?
- There's no hope for this area or store.
I've got no energy to fight anymore...
Well, the bartender is usually angry at us, but maybe... he's at least not THIS depressing?
Have you heard about Beth?
- Have you heard about Beth?
Apparently, she's a real saint!
She seems to help everyone,
without frown or complaint!
- Everyone around here knows about Beth!
She has helped me cope, I'll happily admit.
She really brings the community together.
But her son... That guy is a real piece of shit!
- He's barred from this place, he's worth less than bugs.
I caught him trying to spike women's beers with drugs!
Ok, so... even odds that he's the punk or Harris, right?
What's your take on the police strike?
- What's your take on the ongoing police strike?
From what I hear, they want a pretty big pay hike!
- I support most of our boys in blue, as they always try to do a good job.
But there's an element on the local force that acts like the Italian mob!
And those... would be the ones protesting for higher wages? You're a real friend of the people.
- They should be more worried about rooting those elements out.
At least they've got good jobs, so why stand around and pout!?!
I 100% guarantee that "police officer in a dying inner city with no jobs for anybody and a drug problem" is NOT a good job.
It's pretty cold in here today...
- It's pretty damn cold in here today. Almost as cold as on the street!
Can't you make it a bit more berable in here, by turning up the heat?
- Tough choices had to be made. Pay the electricity or heating bill...
I lowered the price of the whiskey, it'll help us cope with the chill.
I... kind of bet you aren't allowed to keep serving people if your heat's out? Of course, the police are on strike, so !
Now, how's our 'ol Buddy?
- Easier to live in ignorant bliss,
than staring into reality's abyss...
Yeah, today is the day. Not that they all haven't been? But it's really at a fever pitch.
Next on our list is nega-Grace (have we SERIOUSLY not seen the parallels)
Do you ever have crazy nightmares?
- Have you ever had a recurring nightmare?
I seem stuck with one that has me pulling hair!
Yeah, HENRY is the one with the nightmare problem in his relationship!
- Hmm no, I don't think I've ever experience [sic] that!
What is the nightmare about? Let's have a chat!
Another choice here, that's too minor for me to stop the thread and ask.
Although, those kids DID warn us about talking. But that's just to our therapist, right? No harm no foul!
And anyway, we don't actually know that they can DO anything except creep us out.
It's about this sinister boy and girl...
- It's about this sinister looking boy and girl...
They speak in a particularly unsettling way!
Makes me feel like reality is about to unfurl!
- They are warning me about something to come.
Just thinking about it, is making me feel numb...
You know, it strikes me that we've officially talked to this lady more than to Grace about these nightmares. And we haven't asked about hers EVER.
- Ok, OK! That's quite enough for me thanks, you can stop now!
How you're able to put up with such dreams, I don't know how!
Pathological selfishness and inconsiderateness!
Do you have any kids?
- Do you have any kids to go home to at night?
I was going to be a father, but I lost that fight...
The jerkiest possible way ever to imaginably describe what happened to your wife, Henno.
- I never wanted children, but I'm sorry you lost the chance...
You seem like you'd be a good father, at least at first glance...
Oh don't compliment Henry, lady. He's going to end up trying to pick you up.
Do you know who Beth is?
- I keep hearing about this sweet person called Bath [sic], do you know her?
Everyone I talk to, sings her praises, that she's a saint they all concur!
Henry is absolutely the guy who doesn't get tired of having the same conversation 200 times, just to hear himself talk.
- Oh, Beth is the best! I stay on her couch a few times a week.
She lives in the apartment building, always helping the weak.
Ok first off, weak/week booo.
Second off... you... why do you?
Don't you live in the same building?
- Don't you live in the same building, in that case?
Why do you need to sleep on her couch, if so?
Do you lock yourself out of your place frequently?
Or maybe I'm being nosy now, and should let it go...
I'd say this is a stupid idea, but Henry did lock himself IN his house in this game so.........
- Oh it's nothing really, forget I said anything.
YOu know you're always lurking around in here,
but you never seem to want to buy something?
DON'T REMIND ME LADY, I REALLY WANTED A SANDWICH EARLIER.
Also, that's abuse for SURE, right? Right.
How do you keep going when you're tired?
- How do you keep going when you're tired and weary?
Bad dreams have me sleep deprived, so I'm feeling dreary.
Do they? You never seem THAT bothered by them. And they are like... menacing? But not AWFUL.
- I don't have any magic tricks to share.
YOu have to realize life is a struggle,
and that nobody will ever care...
Motivation: the I Fell From Grace Way!
Next up: SAD KID WITH BAD MOM!
Yeah, just don't check out section A! Ha ha ha because a man died there and I didn't report it and the librarian is too sad to check so he's just rotting on the ground and his cat is probably eating him ha ha ha ha ha
- Babe, I don't like reading, it gives me a headache...
Let's do some baking instead, I'll make a fruitcake.
Can't be worse than that rhyme!
- Honey, the last time you tried to bake,
you nearly burnt down the neighborhood!
After that I remember you promising,
that you would stop baking for good.
You know, these two, with the friend dead by OD and constantly squabbling about movies, really ARE the emotional high point of this neighborhood. I hope nothing bad happens to them
Yeah, this is lookin' sad already.
You're looking pretty down today...
- You're looking pretty down today...
You look downtrodden and full of dismay.
- My mom's got herself a new local boyfriend,
he says I don't have to work for everyone to cope.
He says he pays the bills now around the house.
So now instead I'm saving up for a telescope.
Isn't that a good thing?
- Isn't that a good thing? I don't get why you're looking so sad?
Sounds like a pretty good guy, maybe he'll be your new dad?
He's a drug dealer, you moron.
- The guy is mom's drug dealer, she's fucking him for free pills.
He seems pretty violent, I'd rather he'd go, and I pay the bills...
Sheesh. ANYWAY, HOW 'BOUT THAT WEATHER?
Are you looking forward to winter?
- Are you looking forward to winter that's upon us soon?
Or are you more of a summer kid, that prefers the month of June?
- As long as the heating in the building doesn't break this winter again,
I'm quite the fan of the snow, but the cold sure is a real pain...
Yeah, spoiler alert. The heat has already failed, I bet.
What's your favorite movie?
- What's your favorite movie? Do you have it at this place?
I might go ahead and rent it, if that is the case...
It's weird how Henry is like... CLOSE to endearing for these shopkeepers.
He has stupid ideas, and he's selfish, but like... he puts in more genuine human emotions for them than he EVER does for Grace.
I guess in some warped way, the kid here and the grocer lady might represent some idealized version for him of Grace and his kid, and the other shopkeepers his friends.
The deal there, of course, is that he doesn't actually have to deal with any of their messes - he gets to be at arm's length while still providing some emotional support. Bonus points because they probably don't get it anywhere else, so it might almost seem welcome, to have this intrusive weirdo bugging you all the time. Shocker: Henry's relationships are BORKED.
- We don't carry the movie, but my favorite is called "Free".
It's about a kid who finds a new life after deciding to flee...
Henry's favorite one is the Count of Monte Carlo, because he always imagines himself as the count, and everybody who has ever so much as cut him off in traffic as Fernand Mondego. Yes, I had to google that. You're not better than me.
Anyway, let's check out the apartment folk.
There's nothing new in the cat guy's room. Have... the police seriously not been notified about him?
Awww, don't fret! What are the odds of something like that happening!
BLACK mold, would you say? SEWER mold? Aw who am I kidding, you're infirm and helpless, any old mold would do it!
The welcoming party is right where we left them of course, and again, we can't tell anybody. That's... a LOT of bodies laying around here!
No therapy today! I guess... that's all the healthier Henry's gonna GET at this point. He's not terribly complicated.
So that only leaves one place... the 'ol municipal library!
I mean... you can't have thought it'd go SO differently!
You're looking sad today...
- You're looking pretty sad today, is something wrong?
There must be a reason why your face is so long?
- Oh, it's nothing. I think of my childhood friend every now and then.
He's no longer with us, but he was great. His name was Ben...
Truly, the name of kings!
Where [sic] you and Ben close?
- Were you and Ben close?
Tell me the story as it goes.
That's goes with the accent where you say it "gose" of course.
- We were the best of friends, we did everything together!
We'd be out playing with sticks, no matter the weather!
- In high school we fell into different cliques.
We drifted apart, too old to play with sticks.
The 'ol live-by-the-stick, die-by-the-stick relationship.
- If only I had known just how unhappy he was in his final years.
Thinking about him, hanging in his garage... it brings me to tears...
- Maybe if we'd stayed in touch, if I was still his friend.
Maybe, just maybe, his story didn't have to end.
Henry, not knowing what to say, instinctively transitions to weather talk. It worked with the video store kid!
Do you like winter?
- Do you like winter? It's nearly upon us.
Is taht something you'd like to discuss?
- Nobody around here likes the winter cold.
All the apartments are single glace, I'm told...
You know, I bet the wealthy DO prefer winter at significantly higher rates. In the north, at least.
Does the police strike bother you?
- Does the local police strike bother you?
Do you think striking is the right thing to do?
- My father was a policeman, as crooked as they come.
I don't trust a cop, having een all that man had done.
It... usually goes the other way around, I think.
Man, that day kind of takes the air out of you. We're diving deep down, to the emotional nadir. You can feel the depression gathering like a cold front, goons. Let's head back to the office, for OUR one grasp at hope!
before we go...
Yeah, thought so. Just wanted to check