19 Nocturne Boulevard - CHILLIN' - Reissue

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Manage episode 303511900 series 4201
By Julie Hoverson. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

When eccentric recluse Simon Strong, who lives in a perpetually chilled state, vanishes (leaving some rather suspicious remains behind), his only known associate—a teenage delivery girl—is interviewed by the police!

Cast List Amber Sorensen - Krystal Baker Simon Strong - Joel Harvey Det. Phyllis Jermyn - Julie Hoverson Det. Howard Upton - Reynaud LeBoeuf Music: Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com) Recorded with the assistance of Ryan Hirst of Neohoodoo Studio Editing and Sound: Julie Hoverson Cover Photo: (courtesy of Stock Xchange.com)

"What kind of a place is it? Why it's a police station, can't you tell?"

********************************************

Chillin'

This didn’t actually begin with me choosing to adapt another Lovecraft story (in this case "Cool Air"). Frankly, I really liked the 1999 short film, and have a soft spot for the version made for Night Gallery back in the 70s, so I never really considered Cool Air as a priority for adaptation - it had already been done well. Plus it was kind of low hanging fruit - one of the simpler, more straightforward stories to adapt.

Previous to this, I had produced Within the Walls of Eryx, and even before that, while studying screenwriting, I had practiced adaptation by playing with The Thing on the Doorstep, turning it into an hour-long screenplay that I eventually re-wrote into an episode of 19 Nocturne Boulevard.

Nope, this started when my niece Krystal and I went to see the film Juno.

We enjoyed the movie, and leaving it I decided I wanted to write a sassy teenage character, and started clicking through plots in my head that I could slap her into. The irony of sticking a character HPL would undoubtedly loathe into one of his stories did not escape me, and when "Cool Air" crossed my mind, it basically started to write itself.

I hammered out the script in less than a week and sent it to Krystal and asked if Amber sounded reasonably authentic, since Krystal was right about that age herself. Her response was "Could I please play her?" She did, and did a great job. I really love working with and encouraging kids in the arts.

Sig and Laurie (mentioned in the story as Amber's folks, but in reality my own dad and stepmom) came to watch the recording session with Krystal and be supportive, and Laurie at least can be heard in the bloopers in the end.

I also owe great thanks to my friend Robyn who helped with the punk rock details. She knows rock history back and forth and I knew I just needed the right comment or two to make the character really pop.

The story adaptation is extremely loose - in the original, a writer moves into a flat below a doctor who keeps his rooms unnaturally cold, and finds out that the doc has maintained his life, long past standard death, by keeping himself perpetually chilled, presumably at least in part to prevent decay.

Rather than going the doctor/science route for my version, I went with magic and reanimation. I did work a little hint into the story that Simon might be considering some further hocus pocus to preserve himself, but which might involve harming Amber, and he decides he can't. On the other hand, Amber's slightly guilty concern about having her backpack possibly searched and her disregard for the missing "spooky books" might just indicate that she's not quite ready to let go yet.

The original story "Cool Air" is also notable in that a female character is actually quoted as speaking - the landlady of the flats. Of course, this is only so she can be a terrible ethnic stereotype, but at least she actually talks, and may be the only female in all of HPL's major works who does.

Stay tuned at the end of this for a short clip of the German version of Chillin' (retitled "Eiskalt") from Contendo Media!!!

********************************************

CHILLIN'

Cast:

Olivia (host)

Amber Sorensen (16), punky teen

Simon Strong (60s), aged punk rocker

Det. Howard Upton (30s), tough cop

Det. Phyllis Jermyn (30s), nice cop

Bouncers

OLIVIA Did you have any trouble finding it? What do you mean, what kind of a place is it? Why, it's a police station, can't you tell?

MUSIC MODERN COP DRAMA STING

SOUND THUNK OF TAPE RECORDER TURNING ON.

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM - WHIR OF TAPE RECORDER. OCCASIONAL SCUFFLE OF CHAIRS

UPTON Name?

AMBER [mocking] Sorensen. Amber. S-O-R-E-N-S-E-N. O-N is Norwegian.

UPTON What?

AMBER [said a million times] O-N is Norwegian, E-N is Danish.

UPTON So you're Danish?

AMBER [disgusted noise] Do I sound Danish? Uch. Like my great great great great great was.

UPTON Then why--?

JERMYN I understand. My name gets misspelled all the time. Let's move on. Present are detectives Howard Upton and Phyllis Jermyn [pronounced "german", pause] J-E-R-M-Y-N, and Amber Sorensen, with an E-N.

UPTON Age?

AMBER I have the right to remain silent. I have the right to an attorney. If I cannot afford one, one will be ... assigned? Allotted? I should know this - I watch enough Law and Order.

UPTON [sigh] We don't read witnesses their rights. That's for suspects. Age?

AMBER [sullen] You got my I.D. What does it say?

UPTON Hmm. You don't look 21.

JERMYN [sympathetic] You really don't.

AMBER Fine. So it's a fake - I want to speak to the D.A., like trade my information in return for a slide on the bogus I.D., can I‑‑??

SOUND PHONE BEEP

UPTON Oh, turn that off. Not just silent, either. Off.

SOUND PHONE BEING TURNED OFF

JERMYN We're really not interested in prosecuting you. We just want to know about Simon Strong.

UPTON The alleged Simon Strong.

AMBER Dude. He was the full meal deal, you know. I watched videos of his band, from like before I was born, and it was totally him.

UPTON Then who was the deceased?

AMBER Like I said, it was him. What? Do you ride the short bus?

UPTON It couldn't be him, because you said you spoke with him recently, and--

JERMYN [cutting him off] Let's start at the beginning. How did you meet Mr. Strong?

AMBER [miserable] He hates being called Mister. [deep breath, blasé lies] I was making a delivery--

MUSIC

SFX HEAVY METAL/PUNK MUSIC FADES INTO THE BACKGROUND, AMBER BECOMES VOICE OVER.

AMBER [v.o.] --of, some box or other. I got inside, took the wrong turn--

SFX MUSIC IS MUFFLED BY DISTANCE, BUT CLEARLY LOUD

SOUND AMBER'S HEAVY BREATHING UP CLOSE - SOUNDS LIKE ECSTASY, BUT IT'S JUST PANIC AND EXERTION.

AMBER Oh, shit!

AMBER [v.o] I was supposed to go to the manager's office--

SOUND HEAVY FOOTSTEPS APPROACH AT A RUN

SOUND AMBER'S BREATHING QUICKENS. HER FOOTSTEPS TAKE OFF QUICKLY.

BOUNCER [off] Get back here, dogmeat!

AMBER [v.o] And I just knocked on the wrong door.

SOUND HEAVY FEET ARE DISTANT, BUT APPROACHING.

SOUND AMBER'S FEET GET CLOSE.

SOUND SLAM OF BODY AGAINST DOOR. POUNDING ON DOOR

AMBER Let me in! They're after me!!! Please!

SOUND POUNDING CONTINUES. HEAVY FEET GET CLOSER

AMBER Please! I - I'm having a heart attack! Let me in or I'll totally die!

SOUND SLIDING DOOR OPENS

AMBER Whoa!

SOUND STUMBLING STEPS FORWARD, BODY FALLS, SLIDING DOOR SHUTS.

SFX MUSIC CUTS OUT COMPLETELY.

AMBER Oh. Shit. Look, I'm--

SOUND SCUTTLING ACROSS WOOD FLOOR

SIMON [filtered, mechanical sounding] Look into the camera please.

AMBER Camera--? Oh. [shivers slightly]

SOUND A COUPLE OF HESITANT FOOTSTEPS

AMBER Hi! Look, can you just tell me how to get out of here? There's no need for --

SIMON [filter] What was that about a heart attack?

AMBER Oh, that. That was - that was bullshit. [joking] I had it removed - years ago.

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM [CUTS IN SUDDENLY]

UPTON Was your relationship with this Mister Strong, sexual?

AMBER Ew!!! He was like my great grandad's age - like, even older than you!

JERMYN [coughs away a laugh] You say you made the delivery and just happened to "make friends" with Strong? Everyone else says he was a complete recluse. Didn't like people.

AMBER Nah. He liked people, but he was really sick. I mean, like ill, not deviant.

SIMON [on filter] Step through.

SOUND DOOR SLIDES OPEN

MUSIC

AMBIANCE COOL ROOM - THE HUM OF A HEAVY FREEZER UNIT

AMBER [gasps at the cold] Whoa! Um, can I just go? I promise not to try any --

SIMON [unfiltered, but rough and almost a whisper] What WERE you trying?

AMBER I ... really just wanted to hear the band, but your guys caught me. I mean, I assume since you're here, they're yours--

SIMON I own the club, yes.

AMBER [after a slight silence] Okay, is it just me or is your heater broken? [brr noise]

SIMON [dry chuckle]

AMBER [noticing something] Dude!

SOUND A COUPLE OF EXCITED FOOTSTEPS

AMBER Can you watch, like, the whole entire club from here?

SFX ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR SHIFTS

SIMON [disinterested] I can--

AMBER Omigod! Do you have sound? Is there a button?

SIMON --but it gets boring after a while.

AMBER They're totally bumping uglies in the bathroom, right there! Look! Look!

SOUND SWITCH

AMBER [annoyed] Hey!

MUSIC

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM CUTS IN

UPTON Sick? What kind of disease did he have, Ebola? The state of that body--

JERMYN We really shouldn't go into that yet, Howie.

AMBER What time is it?

UPTON What? Why?

AMBER Just asking. You made me turn my phone off. I have a curfew.

JERMYN Would you like us to call home for you?

AMBER [shrug] Nah.

UPTON And your parents, they approved of all this?

AMBER My folks are... Cool. They don't care--

UPTON Like they don't mind that hair cut?

AMBER Sig and Laurie let me do dumb stuff cause they know I won't do anything stupid.

UPTON Like spending all your time hanging out in a bar?

AMBER It's a club. And, for a rocker, Simon was pretty uptight about underage boozing and ...stuff.

UPTON [leaps on it] Stuff? What kind of stuff?

AMBER What? Stuff. Just ... stuff. Dude, you need to switch to decaf. Or valium.

UPTON Did you ever see this man with any illegal substances?

AMBER Well, he had all kinds of medications - being sick and all, and I [sounding mock sorry] I guess I forgot to look them all up in the handy dandy book of all things illegal.

UPTON I thought prescription pills were the latest thing these days.

AMBER Only with the kind of freak whose parents go to shrinks and who have time to sit around and stare at carpet lint. I got better things to do.

JERMYN Like what?

AMBER Plus it's dangerous. You know what viagra can do to-- What?

JERMYN What kinds of things do you like to do?

AMBER I-- like music, I write. I function as a higher organism.

UPTON She means what do you plan to do with your life, Amber Sorensen with an E-N?

JERMYN Actually I was just--

AMBER What do you want, a mission statement and a business plan? Dude, I'm 16.

UPTON I knew what I wanted to do at 16.

AMBER [muttered] But your ass is so tight it whistles.

JERMYN [tries not to snicker]

UPTON Hmm?

AMBER [louder] I bet your dad was a cop.

UPTON So?

AMBER Nothing. Just you seem like maybe you grew up with it.

UPTON Are you gonna follow in your folks' footsteps?

AMBER [flat and sarcastic] Oh, yeah. Weddings are my life.

JERMYN We don't want to keep you here all night - curfew, and all that. What was wrong with your friend?

AMBER Simon said he had some kind of wasting thing --

MUSIC

AMBIANCE COOL ROOM

SIMON Munoz syndrome. I have to carefully regulate my body temperature.

AMBER So you're, like, Mr. Freeze? Not exactly Ahh-nold, there, string bean.

SIMON And I have to avoid excitement.

AMBER [pause] That's a hint, eh? Can I at least get out without going through the American Gladiators?

SOUND SLIDING DOOR OPENS

AMBER Thanks. Hey, if you get completely bored or anything, my I-M is--

SIMON No.

AMBER Um, ok. You just seem kinda lonely.

SOUND HER SLOW FOOTSTEPS

SFX WHEELCHAIR SHIFTS AGAIN

SIMON Perhaps you could come back tomorrow, during the day. I could use someone to run errands for me. The pay would be reasonable.

AMBER Could I watch the band?

SIMON You could watch from here, but you'd have to dress warmly--

AMBER I'll bring a parka!

MUSIC

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM

UPTON Are you adopted?

AMBER [flabbergasted] What? Whoa! I think there are some low-flying non sequeters in here. Did you see where that came from?

JERMYN Uh... no.

UPTON You call your parents [checks notes] um, Sig and Laurie.

AMBER Doh, everyone does. [slow and condescending] Those are their names, Billy.

UPTON Most kids your age still call their folks mom and dad.

AMBER Maybe most kids your age. Most of us would rather be cremated. [shrugs] mm. Except to their face. The folks still like to think we're all the same little rugrats they knew and love. [snort]

UPTON So you make a point of lying to your folks?

AMBER There's that non-sequeter again. You should really get a bug zapper.

JERMYN You probably think of it as "humoring them" rather than lying.

UPTON Two faced is two faced.

AMBER If you can't be two-faced, you shoulda found a better one to be stuck with.

UPTON Look here--

AMBER I bet you never get to play good cop.

UPTON What?

JERMYN Howie, maybe we should take a break. Get some water.

UPTON [growl] I'm fine.

JERMYN Would you get me some? Amber?

AMBER Uh, sure.

UPTON [annoyed noise]

SOUND STOMPS OUT, DOOR SLAMS

AMBER Wow. Where do I get one?

JERMYN Don't be fooled - I'm not always the good cop.

AMBER Oh?

JERMYN You say you don't do drugs. We could test you--

AMBER [disgusted noise] pssh.

JERMYN --and go through your backpack--

AMBER [worried] Huh?

JERMYN But I'm going to trust you on that, because you walked right past one of our drug dogs on the way in, and I don't think you're the type to get caught in a stupid lie.

AMBER [thinks, then] You think I'll get caught in a smart one?

JERMYN Let's just agree that I won't underestimate you, and you do me the same favor.

MUSIC

AMBIANCE COLD ROOM

SOUND DOOR SLIDES OPEN

SIMON You can leave it there.

SOUND FOOTSTEPS

AMBER Hey. Wassup?

SOUND WHIR OF WHEELCHAIR TURNING

SIMON [annoyed] What?

AMBER Just making conversation.

SIMON "Wassup" isn’t conversation.

AMBER It is if you answer. Besides, with most of my friends, I-M-H-O, O-M-G, L-O-L is conversation. Wassup is practically a monolog.

SIMON [snort, then painful noise, trying not to cough] Well. [dismissive] Now that that's settled--

AMBER [overly casual] If you want me to go, just say. [shrug] I got stuff to do.

SOUND a MOMENT, then FOOTSTEPS GO AWAY

SIMON [calling] You... you wanted to watch the band?

MUSIC

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM

SOUND DOOR OPENS, FOOTSTEPS

UPTON Your water.

SOUND WATER BOTTLES GET SLAMMED DOWN, ONE BY ONE

JERMYN Thank you. Howie.

UPTON [makes disgruntled noises]

AMBER Yeah. Cheers, Howie.

UPTON [disgusted noise] Huh.

AMBER Look, my parents actually like me to use their names - makes them feel like they're helping me assert my personhood or something. I do it to humor them.

UPTON Fine.

UPTON [trying to sound unconcerned] We need a physical description of the alleged Mr. Strong.

AMBER Watch a video of Madness Machine on Youtube. Then figure older. A bunch older.

UPTON How very...specific. How tall was he?

AMBER That's kind of a pickle. I never saw him stand up - he was always in his bumper car.

UPTON What?

JERMYN The mechanized wheelchair.

AMBER He had to avoid exerting himself [thinking] OK, so imagine classic Simon, then really thin - like even more than heroin-chic, maybe almost to starving third world skinny.

JERMYN Could it have been faked? Perhaps something in the way he dressed?

AMBER Doubtful, Phyllis. He usually kicked it in jams. Not much to hide behind.

UPTON Speak English.

AMBER [sounding british-ish] The subject in question had a strong tendency to desport himself in capacious yet abbreviated trousers, much as those the predominant choice of American surfboard riders lean toward.

JERMYN [Snicker]

UPTON You mean he wore shorts. In that cold?

MUSIC

AMBIANCE COLD ROOM

SIMON If it bothers you, I could put something else on.

AMBER Yeah, 'cuz like you're so tasty, Bubba-Ho-Tep, that I'm gonna totally jump on you if you keep wheeling around half-naked like that. [beat] Nah - it's kinda creepy, but I'll adjust. Like having a weird uncle.

SIMON [wheezy laugh]

AMBER But a cool one. I mean - not just [brr], but cool.

SIMON I must be, since you're neglecting your social whirl to spend time here in this arctic wasteland.

AMBER Oh, yeah - I have to sneak out the window to get away from the endless line of bimboons waiting to take me to the prom.

SIMON Bimboon?

AMBER It's like someone in a boy band, The guy equivalent of a bimbo.

SIMON [laughs]

MUSIC

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM

UPTON He scooted around in a wheelchair, wearing shorts, and you didn't think that was odd?

AMBER Duh. Of course.

UPTON But you never told anyone about him?

AMBER He'd'a been pissed. Plus people woulda thought - you know - creepy stuff.

UPTON What if he decided to try something?

AMBER Beep beep. I can outrun a wheelchair. At least as far as the stairs.

UPTON And what if he could really get up?

AMBER I doubt it, Billy. He didn't have any little blue pills.

UPTON [flustered] I didn't-- I meant get up and walk.

AMBER Yeah you did. You're the one who's all worried he's gonna go perv on me.

UPTON If you were my daughter--

AMBER Get out of the way of the door. One of us would probably be dead.

MUSIC

AMBIANCE COLD ROOM

AMBER The bottles - it's all for your illness, right? Like the meth lab in the bathroom?

SIMON [shocked] It's not a--!

AMBER Doh, yeah. I was kidding. So is it a big secret experiment thing?

SIMON I - I keep tracking down recipes for preparations and elixirs that ... that might help me. Some seem to work for a little while, but nothing ... lasts.

MUSIC

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM

JERMYN [snap] Howie. Did you have any more questions?

UPTON What about his hair?

AMBER [snapped back] What? It looked pretty much the same.

UPTON A-ha! Too clever for his own good.

AMBER Not every guy over 50 needs canned hair, Billy.

UPTON And this guy claimed to be THE Simon Strong.

AMBER I already told you he was. I didn't even know who that was that first time, cause like I'd never heard of him before, but soon as I could, I googled him and voy-la!

UPTON Vwa-la.

AMBER [whispered] Beep Beep.

UPTON What?

JERMYN For the record, Simon Strong was the lead singer and songwriter for a punk band called Madness Machine in the mid to late 1970s.

AMBER American punk band.

UPTON Who cares?

AMBER [earnest] It's important - British punk was British punk and American punk was--

JERMYN But you'd never heard of this band before you met Strong?

AMBER [sigh] Pre-cisely. Funny sort of six degrees thing, though - once I saw the band name, it clicked, 'cuz my grandad had one of their albums in his LP collection. Serious. How's that for whoo-OO-oo [spooky noise]?

UPTON [disbelieving snort] Your grandpa listened to punk?

AMBER Duh. He willed his tattoos to science. Stay back from the door, Billy.

JERMYN You said you met Mr. Strong --?

AMBER Halloween night. That's why they had such a cool band in the house.

JERMYN About nine months, then. And how often did you see him?

AMBER Most days. I did his shopping and stuff and stopped in for a chat.

MUSIC

AMBIANCE COOL ROOM

SIMON Are you a retard? The Sex Pistols were totally the Monkees of punk. They were a made band. Their manager put them together.

AMBER [teasing] I suppose you met him too?

SIMON Once. How much respect can you have for a guy who also created Bow Wow Wow?

AMBER Bow Wow What?

SIMON You must ride the short bus. Beep beep, Billy, don't stand in the way of the door. [wheezy chuckle] The Ramones, now, they were the real thing. They lived punk.

AMBER You're pretty feisty for an old crip who's s'posed to keep frosty.

SIMON [dry chuckle]

MUSIC

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM

JERMYN When our people searched the "residence" over the club, they found a number of, um - unusual items.

AMBER Like?

JERMYN The enormous refrigeration unit that apparently kept the place fairly, um--

UPTON Meat locker-ish.

AMBER [wry] So he was cool. So?

UPTON According to electric company records, he was using enough energy to be frozen.

AMBER And? What, didn't he pay his bill? It's his business what he does with his juice.

UPTON There are a lot of things you can do with that much juice. Things, for instance, that the narcotics squad would be very interested in.

AMBER [exasperated] Beep beep.

UPTON I am getting really sick of--

JERMYN Amber. Can you shed any light on the occult paraphernalia he apparently collected?

AMBER It's not like I had the run of the place. We'd just hang in the main room - where all the video consoles are. He talked about some old books, though.

JERMYN Did you ever see anyone else with him? Did he talk about other visitors?

AMBER Oh, heck no. He didn't like people to see how sick he was, but like, since I already knew, he had somebody to talk to, right?

AMBIANCE COOL ROOM

SOUND DOOR SLIDES SHUT

AMBER Hey!

SIMON [anxious] You're late.

AMBER [aping his wiped out voice] "Hi Amber, so glad to see you."

SIMON I was exp-- [slight chuckle, sigh] I am. Yes.

AMBER You worried about me or your [singsong] Special Delivery!?

SIMON It's here?

AMBER No, it's a phone book I wrapped up and sent the long way, let's see, through - wow. Egypt and London? That's tight!

SIMON Open it, please.

AMBER 'kay.

SOUND PAPER UNWRAPS FROM LARGE BOOK.

AMBER Oh, jeez - you got so ripped off.

SIMON What do you mean?

AMBER This is such a gag gift. It's like from that movie - "I'll swallow your soul! I'll swallow your soul!"

SIMON Give it here. [pause] Ah. No, this is the real thing. The dark jewel of any occult collection.

AMBER [sniffing] Ok, so it smells older than Bruce Campbell, but still --

SIMON I need to be alone. Come back next Wednesday.

MUSIC

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM

AMBER He did burn incense and drink weird stuff. I figured it was alternative medicine, or maybe Kabbalah - that's all the rage with the red carpet crowd, right?

UPTON Did he ever say what was wrong with him?

AMBER Mun-yoes syn-drome, Billy.

UPTON Stop calling--

JERMYN But what is Munoz syndrome? Did you ever, say, Google it?

AMBER Well, yeeah. There were a couple - but they had longer names, and were like degenerative eye diseases, so I figured, you know, that wasn't it.

UPTON Did you ever ask him?

AMBER Well, right off I asked if it was catching, and he said no, so I figured that's all I care about, and if wants to talk about it he'll say.

MUSIC

AMBIANCE COOL ROOM

SIMON Munoz syndrome is extremely rare. I contracted it almost thirty years ago--

AMBER Ooh! Let me guess. When you [reporter voice] "vanished from the public eye"!

SIMON Where--?

AMBER Wikipedia. Shh. I'm shushing.

SIMON My band was in New Orleans, when this came on. Normal medicine couldn't help, so I turned to the uh, folk practitioners.

AMBER Like Voodoo? No wonder you're buying all creepy books and incense.

SIMON It's a lot more serious than movie voodoo, but that's close.

AMBER And the cold?

SIMON It slows my metabolism.

AMBER Mine too - Brr.

SFX THE HUM OF THE FREEZER DIPS FOR A MOMENT

SIMON [gasps and holds his breath until the power returns]

AMBER Wha--?

SIMON [very tense] The wiring's getting old.

AMBER So get a new fridge.

SIMON No, the building's wiring. Between music and lights and all, it carries quite a load.

AMBER You should move, then - and before summer. Seriously.

SIMON How can I go anywhere? I have to stay a constant level.

AMBER I dunno. [thinking] Hey, ice cream truck - I once saw this movie where they were carting a corpse around in the back--

SIMON [strong] No. No. Tomorrow, maybe you could look at generators.

MUSIC

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM

JERMYN But he was well off - according to the IRS.

AMBER He spent a buttload on his creepy books and exotic bags of dirt and stuff. [catching herself] Or, that's what he told me.

UPTON And he trusted you to carry around these expensive packages?

AMBER I didn't know what they were. I'd probably have freaked and got all paranoid. He said other people were after them, too.

UPTON [eager] Other people? Do you think they might have taken the books after Strong disappeared?

AMBER Tscha. He didn't disappear. He's dead. Beep Beep.

UPTON [takes in an angry breath]

JERMYN Ok, let's go back--

UPTON No, let's talk about this. You're saying that the corpse you discovered in that - what you call "the cold room" - was the person you knew as Simon Strong.

AMBER It had to be.

UPTON Then pray explain to me how it could be that that body had been dead for well over a decade?

AMBER [shrug, statement] You're wrong.

UPTON So all our experts are wrong. And you know better.

AMBER [trying] Your experts obviously aren't familiar with Munoz Syndrome. That's all.

UPTON Right. So you know better. You know what I think?

JERMYN [warning] Howie...

UPTON No, Phyl. Not this time. I'm getting tired of this little girl, trying to live in a dream world. She needs a dose of harsh reality.

AMBER [hysterical laughter] Harsh reality? [can't stop laughing] You don't have a clue how harsh reality can get. [breaks down into tears]

MUSIC

AMBIANCE COLD ROOM

SIMON Turn the thermostat down a bit, would you?

AMBER Down? Dude, my eyeballs are already icing over.

SIMON [pause] Maybe you shouldn't come here any more.

AMBER [upset] What? [beat, then blasé] And lose the school credit I'm getting for looking after the elderly and infirm? Uh-uh.

SIMON [slight wheezing laugh, turns into cough, then deep breath] I... I probably won't last much longer.

AMBER No way! You're fine! Well, not fine, but‑‑

SIMON It's been coming for a long time. And the elixirs aren't working any more. Nothing is working.

AMBER The book can't--?

SIMON I thought there would be things I could ...bring myself to do, but it's not worth it.

AMBER It's always worth living.

SIMON When I'm gone, take it and burn it. Promise?

AMBER If you can't use it, sell it! Use the money to get more colder. You'll be fine.

SIMON No.

SFX POWER DIP, THEN HUM RETURNS

SIMON [long shaky breath] I always think it will be the last one.

AMBER I'LL buy you a generator.

SIMON Have you seen the gas prices recently? Cooling takes too much energy - even if you get one, I won't be able to afford the gasoline.

MUSIC

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM

AMBER [still breathing in little gasps, coming down from a crying jag]

SOUND WATER BOTTLE OPENED

JERMYN Drink.

SOUND PLASTIC BOTTLE SET ON TABLE

UPTON [annoyed] Are you through?

AMBER [cough, sniff]

UPTON So, here's what I think is going on. This guy has been trying to establish himself as Simon Strong, famous recluse and mysterious celebrity.

AMBER That's too dumb even for the short bus.

UPTON Oh, yeah? Dumb to the tune of half a mil a year. Between the club, which the real Strong did purchase in December of 1979, and the royalties on his old music - particularly the musical um, chunks, or segments--

JERMYN Riffs.

UPTON Yes, whatever, that people used in their own--

JERMYN Sampled.

UPTON [deep annoyed sigh] During the 80s and 90s-- [waits, but there is no interjection] --he had pots of money rolling in.

AMBER Which he spent on books and crud. I told you.

UPTON Kid, no one spends that much on books. Did you ever actually see these books, or did you just bring him book-shaped packages?

AMBER [silent for a beat] No, I guess I never actually saw them.

UPTON I say he's been salting it away, staying around long enough to move everything to the Caymans and then - Voy-la - take a powder.

AMBER But the body--

JERMYN [sadly] WAS the real Simon Strong. Dental records have confirmed it. But Amber, he'd been dead for a very long time.

UPTON Which explains the cold. The fake didn't want the - uh - deceased stinking up the place.

AMBER [muttered] Yeah, easier to freeze the whole place, than just pack a corpse in a chest freezer.

JERMYN Are you up to telling us how you discovered the body?

AMBER [very subdued] Sure. I got to the club, and everything was dark. I freaked-- Well, I got really worried, and ran up to his room. The body was just... there... and it was...

JERMYN --In an advanced state of decomposition.

AMBER Yeah, that.

MUSIC

SFX NO SOUND OF FRIDGE, JUST DISTANT STREET NOISES.

SOUND DOOR SLIDES OPEN WITH DIFFICULTY.

AMBER [Grunts] Dammit, open! damm---it [squeaks through] Simon! Simon? [almost chokes] What is-- oh jeez!

SOUND HESITANT FOOTSTEPS

SOUND SQUISHY MOVEMENT NOISE

AMBER What the he-e-e-ll?

SIMON [Almost inaudible] Turn off the flashlight.

SOUND CLICK FLASHLIGHT OFF

AMBER I'll get you some ice, I'll ---

SIMON Damage is done. Don't go. I wasn't sure if I wanted you here or not -- for this.

AMBER Can I--? Do you need--?

SIMON Don't... touch me. Please. Just listen. Listen! Take the books and burn them. I need to know you will.

AMBER Yeah, sure.

SIMON I- I've willed the club to you. Don't get your hopes up, the police aren't going to .... [trails off]

AMBER Simon! [breaking down] I don't want you to die. You can't die! [etc., sobbing]

SIMON This isn't -- I... haven't... been living... for a long time. Let me go.

AMBER No!

SIMON Shh!

AMBER [controls herself] Shushing. [gasp]

SIMON In 1977, I O.D.ed on heroin and, [gasping cough] -- I... died. It was never reported because a local Bocor brought me back...

AMBER [small voice] Like a zombie?

SIMON [sigh, not quite a chuckle] I knew you'd understand.

AMBER But we can do it again, right? Bring you back?

SIMON [dying, trailing off] Beep Beep. Get out of the way of the door, Billy....

AMBER [sobs]

MUSIC

AMBIANCE INTERVIEW ROOM

AMBER Guess I'm glad it ain't him - the ... borscht. But he was cool. For an old dude.

UPTON If he contacts you in any way--

AMBER [dryly sarcastic] Oh, sure. I'll be right on the phone to you.

UPTON Do you understand the meaning of accessory to fraud? Harboring a fugitive, maybe?

AMBER Well, I do watch a lot of TV. Besides, it's not like I'm getting anything out of it.

UPTON The club has been transferred into your name, Amber Sorensen with an E-N. The heirs of the real Simon Strong will probably contest it.

AMBER Pff. Don't care. Are we done?

JERMYN You'll have to wait a few minutes while your statement is typed up. Once you sign it, you're good to go.

AMBER Sure. Hey, did your CSI guys really not find any books or anything at the scene?

JERMYN Nothing of any importance.

UPTON And no clue to his offshore account.

AMBER Hmm. Oh well. [grunts with effort]

SOUND CREAK OF LIFTING A HEAVY BACKPACK ONTO HER BACK

JERMYN You going to be OK without a coat? It's a bit chilly out tonight.

SOUND DOOR OPENS.

SFX OFFICE NOISE.

SOUND COUPLE FOOTSTEPS

AMBER Really? [laughs] Nah. I'm cool.

SOUND FOOTSTEPS LEAVE.

MUSIC MODERN COP THEME, FADE OUT

CLOSER

OLIVIA Now that you know how to find us, you'll have to come back. Maybe next week? Don't be a stranger - we have enough of those already...

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955 episodes