1x03 - moments of mystery

Hey, everyone, it’s Benji here to guide you through another moment of mystery. That’s catchy, I think. Teresa shut it down when I put it in the group chat, but. I like it. And Elaine liked it. Nobody else did, but only Teresa shut it down. But I like it! It’s alliterative, and it’s catchy. See, you gotta sell shit with a title, like–a title is a mini-thesis, right? Your mission statement in, uh, I’d argue seven words or less, cuz after that, you’re getting too niche. 

Like you’re some kinda whiny sellout pop-punk band, or a tortured academic who can’t come up with any substance for their dissertation so instead they’re writing their entire life story on the title page after a colon, or somewhere on the spectrum between the two. And there is a spectrum, I think, and it does not include every single type of person. I think, in the middle, we have white PTA moms and also maybe me back in high school.

So. Moments of mystery. Now, listeners, I’m a self-proclaimed expert on weird shit. And I (maybe legally?) have to say self-proclaimed, cuz I have had some people email into my podcast that are pissed off about my lack of certification in the field. Because apparently, these days, we don’t trust non-degree-granted expertise. Hmph. Trust me, I’m working on it, though. I’m super working on it. Not sure if the university offers a cryptozoology/paranormal investigations program, but, hey, if they need a guy to start one? They know my name. And my number. And my email. And my address. Cuz I’m an alum. And also because I’ve emailed, called, and mailed them about this. Many times. I think the dean blocked my number? Which I might put on my resume, frankly, cuz the dean’s a dick and if he blocked me, I think I should consider that an honor.

So, anyway, as a self-proclaimed expert, I got this whole thing down. I can and I will. Weird mists? Absolutely. Moon-related prophecies? I got you. Specters and apparitions and what have you? Hell yeah. If there’s something strange–you get the gist. Call me. I got you. Moments of goddamn mystery. It’s a good title!

Now, though, let’s get to the point. What you’ve all been waiting for. That’s right, everybody, it’s time for updates on the weird stuff. We’ll get to theories, later, I just wanna get all the facts out there first.

First off: Benji Life Update, which is to say, uh, Danny and I are over, now. Unfortunately. It was mutual. So, I guess, no tape-clearance for Danny anymore. Sorry for those who made their tapes before me, who may have made their statements with Danny’s clearance in mind. It’s done. That part of my life is behind me. It was fun while it lasted, but, hey. All good things come to an end, right?

Second off: Time loop update. I refuse to call it Groundhog Daying like the others keep using in the group chat because fuck Bill Murray, but. Regardless. Time loop update. No new time loops! But yes new explanation as to what happened in the original timeline versus the real timeline. I’m not gonna get into semantics, here, but we are gonna call the day that got redone Timeline Prime. Like–the first time we did that day. Is Timeline Prime. The Primeline? Who knows. And the second one is Our Unfortunate Reality. So, anyway, in the Primeline, I opened the shop, and in Our Unfortunate Reality, Teresa did. Which made her miss her classes, and made me sleep through my alarm to drive out to Ainsley and pick up the merch deliveries. And, in the–

[Static]

DISTORTED VOICE:

Circle. Circle. Circle. Circle. Circle. Circle. Circle.

BENJI:

So, anyway, uh. Basically, I should maybe fire myself? But considering that it’s my store, and I like to use the label ‘local business owner’ to introduce myself to people, I won’t. Ah, shit looks like my audio–my audio got rough, there. I’ll. I’ll check it back later. Sorry, listeners.

Speaking of the store, though, we have a new customer! Which, that’s not rare, necessarily, but we’re pretty reliant on our regulars. New people are always college students, right? But this person, he’s, like, fifty. Completely unremarkable. He keeps coming in, staring at the wall, and then leaving. One time, he took one of the complimentary temp tattoos that we give kids, so I guess he has kids? But he never says hi, never engages–he just. He stares. And I’m not here to judge, but, time-loop shit aside, I run a pretty tight ship, and, uh. I like to think of myself as somebody who knows everybody. Because, for the most part, I do.

So, like, it’s weird, right? Like–he doesn’t do anything, and, again, like. I don’t wanna judge, but–the thing is, I can’t remember a thing about this dude’s face. Just–he’s so, so boring. White dude, uh, average–pretty average height. No discernable features. And he–he spoke to me, once, and his voice sounded like it was through a dozen filters.

He said–uh. Shit. What did he say?

He said, uh.

Well. That’s noteworthy.

Anyway, his weird voice, and his, uh, his blandness, is a good segue into my personal favorite of the segments I’ve outlined. Which is to say, it’s Alien Time. Needs a catchier name, but. Oh well. That’s for later. It’ll come to me. Extraterrestrial Corner? Spaceman Zone?

So, here’s what we got, re colon the alien theory, and, look, I know some of you are sick of it. I know. But listen, Teresa keeps getting messages from her shadow-self or whatever about the moon, which is in space, and, hey, where are aliens from? That’s right. It’s space.

I sound batshit, which, fine, whatever, cool, great, but. Still.

And then, there are these creepy-ass people with entirely unremarkable faces. Which, again, not judging. I promise. But that I can’t remember anything that my guy said, even though I can remember his, like, cadence, or–that’s creepy. That’s paranormal. And that his voice was layered? That’s mega creepy.

See You Invader? As a title for this segment? It has some level of cleverness to it, I think.

Maybe? Vote now on your phones. Please. I’m–y’know, I’m sticking with it, I like it.

And then the school board that threw Char out of her speech thing. Those were–those were also kindq weird. And they seem similar to my experience.

But that she’s seen them before, that’s where it gets me, cuz you’d think, what with the, uh, what with the purple flashing sky and all, that, uh. That said aliens would have only shown up on New Years. But, see, that takes me to the idea that it’s been more of a slowburn, and that the Corielli board is, like, scouts, or something. That the big guys–which is to say, Teresa’s weird apparition lady, my new customer, those are the Big Bads. So, what does that mean about structure? Well, I’m glad you asked. See–

[STATIC]

DISTORTED VOICE:

Coincidence. Coincidence. Coincidence. Coincidence. Coincidence. Coincidence. Coincidence.

[STATIC]

BENJI:

So, in conclusion? Second moon maybe, aliens definitely, and ghosts very much so. Thank you.

So, next point, which is a question, rather than a point. Why us? Why the seven of us? Look, I get it, seven is a very literary number. If I were ghost aliens, which I am not, I would definitely go with three or seven people to fuck with. But are they fucking with us, or is there meaning behind it all?

So, uh. We all kind of knew each other? I guess? I was Facebook friends with Elaine, just cuz, as Robin’s honorary Alive Dad, I will be walking her down the aisle at their wedding, meaning there were only two connections to Elaine total, but everybody else at least sort of knew everybody else. And maybe it was the fireworks? Because Simon sold them to me out of his truck near the barber shop and told me to stay quiet about them. Though, also? They were probably illegal, so–

You get it. I know there are easier ways to get fireworks, but his are always so fucking cool and I wanted to feel proud in my pyrotechnic skills. But, hey, win some lose some, right? Right?

Or. No. I guess.

But. It can’t just be–in a situation this weird, it can’t be completely random that it was the seven of us, y’know? There’s gotta be the Big Prophecy, or the–the secret powers, or one of those things. The force that drew us all to that party at three AM, after everybody was already gone, the force that’s drawing us together. There’s gotta be something that brings this all together, that adds some kinda coherency, like–

I know that I shouldn’t expect storylines from life. That I’m–I’m not the main character in some story, that there aren’t cliffhangers or plot twists in this reality, but this reality feels like a comic book right now. So, yeah, I am waiting for Galactus to show up, or something. For some goddamned continuity, for something to click into place.

And that’s shitty of me, because nothing else has ever worked like that, so, uh, why should real-life-aliens work out like that? That’s pretty presumptuous of me. But, look. Listen.

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a Mulder or a Dale Cooper or a Ripley or any given Rick Moranis character, and now–now I’m none of those. But this sorta thing, it gives me a chance, y’know? It–these are my monsters of the week, this is my search for the sister, this is me living out what was never written for me, y’know? It’s–I’m in this goddamn narrative, and even if this isn’t a narrative, I’m gonna make it one. Because why not! I–I’m working on self-love everyday, like Doc Claremont said. She’s my therapist. You know. Gotta get those life skills in place. Constantly improving. Letting myself be myself. Hell yeah.

So here’s the plot, so far, then. Seven outcasts–we’re all pretty outcast, I’d argue–stand alone on a beach, and, bam, flash of light, and bam, the world is dying, and then, darkness. Lost-style eye-zoom in, right, Michael Bay spin, and then we’re back on the beach. And then we get a coherent plot about time loops, and nothing else, because it is two-thousand-and-eighteen. And there are interwoven character webs, and interesting enough flashbacks, and–

And it makes sense. And it’s well-written, and it’s well drawn, and it has a really good cult fanbase that–you know. You get the gist.

Look, all I’m saying is that this doesn’t feel like it’s real, so why don’t we have fun with it? We’re seeing things that, as far as we know, no one else has seen before. We’re on the verge of something big, and. I don’t just feel it, I know it. In every corner of my mind, I’m sure of it. This is so important, this is–this is the most important thing I’ve done. And I’ve done a lot of important things, I think. At least a few of ‘em. I’m fairly accomplished. I can, uh, in the truly classic Sorkin-style, list my credentials, like–Graduated top of my class from Core–

[STATIC]

DISTORTED VOICE:

The Moon. The Moon. The Moon. The Moon. The Moon. The Moon. The Moon.

[STATIC]

BENJI:

–ran a five k without ever walking, and also without that much training, which is an accomplishment from a me perspective. And I got my scuba license last week based on a gut decision! I’m accomplished as hell.

Seriously, though, what’s going on with my audio? It’s like–it’s not even, like, weird feedback shit, it’s just, like. A weird test screen where there should be a solid two minutes of audio. Weird. Is–maybe I should get better software? I heard that this cheapass one wasn’t reliable, but I didn’t see this in any reviews or FAQs or whatever; I–

Hm.

[beat, typing]

Okay, a quick troubleshooting search, that’s not a thing! That’s–that’s genuinely not a thing that anyone’s reported before. I screenshotted, but, uh, the screenshot won’t load? So. Uh. I’m gonna check this out. So. Signing off. Need a sign off.

I hope to share another moment with you soon?

Yeah, it’s a shitty title.

Okay, until next time.