Episode 11: “Pumpkin Patch” – Transcript

MonkeyTales – Episode 11 – “Pumpkin Patch”
by D.J. Sylvis

ANNOUNCER
You’re listening to MonkeyTales, a hopepunk anthology podcast.

ANNOUNCER #2
Today’s episode is Pumpkin Patch, written by D.J. Sylvis, featuring Tina Daniels, Liz Morey, Dallas Wheatley, and Leeman Kessler.

SOUND: Music in background – “An Autumn Tale,” by Trace Callahan

ENDLING (introduction):
Somewhere, there are worlds upon parallel worlds, realities shelved like a well-ordered library. In theory separate, complete in their covers; but as new worlds are created, as they are stacked closer together, pages touch and sometimes they … intersect. The ideas run like ink and cross the page. The wild tales of one may become the reality of another. 

One of these worlds – one of thousands that touch on our own – is known as October. One of the archetypes; one of the realities that is a source for our stories. It is not difficult to reach, if you know the way – you can experience their wildness for yourself, adventure there, and live, and love. But be wary – perhaps more than any other existence, here there be monsters …

SOUND: Music fades

(We are out in the country at night, entering a pumpkin
patch.)

SOUND: Country Night Background (ongoing)
SOUND: Footsteps in the grass, multiple, coming closer
SOUND: Clacking and sliding wood noises

KARO
Of course. I’ll be careful. You know you can trust me.

SOUND: Additional wood clacking / sliding

KARO

You can trust us.

SOUND: Additional wood clacking / sliding

KARO
Okay, but that’s kids! I haven’t been a kid for years.

SOUND: A slightly-exasperated, but accepting sigh
SOUND: A few additional wooden noises
SOUND: Footsteps in grass, receding

KARO
(calling out – pronunciation is like “Awn-cle”)
Thank you, Auncle! Say hi to the Little Ones for me!

YVONNE

They’ve got kids?

KARO
Not kids. The Little Ones are … I’ll explain another time. Oh, and it’s xe, not they.

YVONNE
I should have asked; I was a little distracted. You know, first thing on this side and I meet an
animated scarecrow …
(intrigued)
The way xe signed was interesting, I know some ASL but that was completely different.

KARO
Auncle Lantern isn’t quite a scarecrow, but xe does protect the pumpkin patch. I wouldn’t call
xem a farmer either, though that’s probably why xe was made.

YVONNE
But xe isn’t one of the ones that brought us over?

KARO
No, just a friend. It’s mostly cryptids who protect the crossings.

YVONNE

(pronunciation is “koo-nay-koo-nay”)
I’m sure there’s a scarecrow cryptid … maybe the Kunekune? That’s a fun one, kinda reminds
me of the turnip guy from Howl’s Moving Castle. So did your … Aw-uncle, come to think of it.

KARO

I don’t know that one.

YVONNE
The monster or the movie? We’re going back right now if you haven’t seen the movie.
(they both laugh)
The pumpkins don’t mind being guarded by a scarecrow who wears them as a head?

KARO
I think they’re all related. I wouldn’t call xem the Great Pumpkin, but xe’s a pretty good pumpkin.
Come on, let’s go in.

SOUND: Slight leaves rustling, walking in bare earth

YVONNE

Ooof. Just a minute.

KARO

Everything okay?

YVONNE

My cane is digging in a little too deep.

KARO

I’m sorry! I didn’t even think –

YVONNE

It’s okay, I’m good, I’ve got this.
(brief pause)
So these are just … regular pumpkins here? They’re not gonna bite or sing or start flying around
our heads?

KARO

None of that, love. Fair question, though.
(after a moment, more serious)
You’re doing really well with all of this.

YVONNE
Oh, I’m quaking inside, let me tell you. This is like walking into Ray Bradbury’s head.

KARO
That’s pretty accurate. I had to show you, I know you said you believed me but …

YVONNE
And I do. I did. I’m not saying it isn’t a lot. But you eased me into it, first telling stories and then
asking what-if … but then I’m meeting the Lake Champlain monster –

KARO
She hates being called that. Her name is Charlene.

YVONNE
Meeting Charlene in the middle of the night in Quebec, and it’s not like that’s not enough weird
stuff, but she opens the door so we can cross over into a whole world of weird stuff. That is
when it’s a lot, and I don’t see how it could not be. But you’re fine. I love you.

KARO

I love you.

YVONNE
I didn’t mean to say weird. This is your place, where you’re from. It’s weird to me.

KARO
Here, this is a clear spot, let’s spread out the blanket.

YVONNE

Will do. I’ll need a hand sitting …

KARO

I’ve got you.

SOUND: Blanket being unfolded, ground crunching slightly as they sit down

KARO

The world is weird to everyone, including people from here. That’s why I wanted to start simple –
a nice moonlight walk, a picnic in the pumpkin patch …

YVONNE
Points for alliteration. And it is nice … I love the Moon. We’re lucky it’s out tonight.

KARO
That’s something you’ll really like over here. The Moon is always out.

YVONNE

Oh, stop. How would that even work?

KARO
It’s true. Fictional world and all, the rules are pretty flexible. You can always see the Moon here.
It moves around a bit, and sometimes it changes colour.
(a bit more intimate)
I … chose tonight because of that.

YVONNE

What colour does it turn to?

KARO
Umm … at midnight … where’s my watch? I knew I forgot something …

YVONNE

At midnight …

KARO
On the night of the equinox, when the seasons change …

YVONNE
But the equinox was a few weeks back? Right, not here. I get it.

KARO

At midnight, on the equinox, the Moon turns –

YVONNE

(to herself)
I’m gonna need an almanac at some point.

KARO

(not really upset, presentational)
At midnight on the equinox, the Moon turns …

YVONNE

Yes?

KARO

Blood orange.

YVONNE

Don’t you mean blood red?

KARO

(a bit sly here)
Not in my world.
(after a moment)
Are you hungry? I promised you a picnic, the basket’s right here.

SOUND: Opening the picnic basket, rummaging around through it

YVONNE
Oh, that’s how you’re gonna be. Distract me with food. Mind you, for now it’ll work. Where’d you
get all this stuff?

KARO

From a shop. The usual way.

YVONNE

(mouth full)
But … oh my gosh, these are tasty. But how?

KARO

I called ahead.

YVONNE

You can call ahead to another universe?

KARO
Well, the same way we got across, I guess. I asked one of the gatekeepers to send a note for
me.

YVONNE
Amazing. You’re going to have to explain how all of this works. And what these tarts are! I don’t
recognize the filling.

KARO
These are jella fruit … it’s particular to this side.

YVONNE

They’re amazing!

KARO
And we’ve got egg salad sandwiches – don’t ask where the eggs came from! And cheese –
again …
(they laugh)
Oh Vonnie, your face! I’m just teasing, We’ve got farms, and livestock, and … whatever else it
takes to support bakeries here.

YVONNE

Of course you do.

SOUND: Cellophane crinkling

KARO

And here, chips. Potato chips.

YVONNE
With a logo! A little cartoon dragon. Are there dragons?

KARO
Sometimes … that’s more of a fantasy thing, but there are crossovers.

YVONNE
I guess I’m just … from the stories you used to tell, “Once upon a time, there was this monster
world …” it sounded like Frankenstein or Wolfman – little villages with big spooky castles stuck in
the 1800s. But a society that develops chip bags and cartoon logos – that’s pretty advanced!

KARO
(just a little tentative here, thinking of their own place in this world)
That takes more explanation. It is a big industrial world … where it wants to be. And there are
places where it’s still a creepy little village beneath a cliffside with lightning flashing in the
background. It can be a lot of things, based on where you are … and what the story is you’re
part of.

YVONNE
That’s what I’m still wrapping my head around – well, one of the things.

KARO

I’m sorry, I could have told you more before I brought you here. I could have given you more
warning.

YVONNE

Do I need more warning?

KARO
I figured finding out your themfriend comes from a monster universe might need some time to
settle in. I didn’t want to bury you in the details.

YVONNE
Honey, I’m a reference librarian – infodumping is one of my favourite things.
(brief pause, gently)
You did tell me a lot. Years and years of stories, remember? Curled up in bed together on winter
nights, reflections from the streetlights flickering on the walls … you told me so much. And when
the little laughing what-ifs became more serious – no, what if … you kept telling me.

KARO

And you never flinched, not one time.

YVONNE
I’ve paid attention. I want to know it all. I just … never thought about how it would feel. How I
would feel inside it.

KARO

And?

YVONNE
I’ll let you know when I figure it out. I definitely thought things would feel … darker than this.

KARO

There’s lots of ways to make a monster.

SOUND: Somewhere in the distance, a wolf howling

YVONNE
You timed that perfectly. Is there anything to drink handy?

KARO

Wine or water? No Dracula jokes, please.

YVONNE

(leaning into the impression)

I vould never … drink vine.

SOUND: Pouring a glass of water

KARO
Don’t make me leave you here. You don’t know what happens to little girls left unguarded in the
pumpkin patch …

YVONNE
Would I be adopted? Is this when you tell me if I stay overnight, I’ll become one of the
monsters? Do I get to choose which one?

KARO
You have to be born here, and I don’t think – well, most of us don’t get to choose.

YVONNE
Still, now I’m intrigued. What happens in the pumpkin patch, Karo? Tell me the secrets!
(after a moment)
Isn’t there a dance called the pumpkin patch?

KARO

You’re thinking of the cabbage patch.

YVONNE
Maybe you brought me to the wrong farm altogether.

SOUND: The wolf howling again, but much closer

YVONNE

(a little nervous)
All right, Karo, you turned the volume up a little loud that time.

KARO

(focused, but not concerned)
It’s nothing to worry about. Some of The Wilds running around – it’s a big night for them too.

SOUND: A few barks back and forth, not too far away

YVONNE
The Wilds – sure, I remember something about those in your stories …

SOUND: Growling, very nearby now, growls and barks continu

YVONNE
Umm … do they know we shouldn’t worry about them? I’m just gonna – where’s my cane –
(she grunts as she pulls herself up)
I’ve got this, babe, I grew up in the country.

KARO

Okay, but I grew up here, so –

GREY

(distant, half-growling)
Who is it? Who’s in there!

YVONNE

Hey! Who’s out there? I’m warning you –

GREY
You’ve got one chance to identify yourself before I call the pack and we –

KARO
Hang on, hang on a minute! It’s Karo, Karoline, I know I’ve been away but all The Wilds know
me and –

GREY

(closer now, less growly)
Karo? Little Karo? You’re back?

SOUND: A body crashing through the vines
SOUND: The ‘oof’ from both sides as the two hug

KARO

Take it easy, now, you’re still bulked up.

GREY

(still a little breathless)
Look at you! Karo! And this one’s with you?

KARO

This is my –

GREY

I better tell the guys.
(he howls, suddenly)

YVONNE

There go my ears for good now.

GREY
Sorry, we’re just – we’ve seen some scary folks crossing over lately, and I caught your scent and
that was … anyway. Grey, pack leader, pleased to meet you.

YVONNE
Yvonne, reference librarian, from … Earth, I guess.

GREY
Right. And Karo! It’s been … I don’t know how long! You should have seen them back then, they
wanted to run with us but those little legs …

KARO

(a little embarrassed)
She doesn’t need to hear all that. It’s good to see you! I should have known you’d be out tonight.

GREY
Of course, with a Moon like this! But we’ve got a new guy – Troy, you’ll have to meet him – he’s
running a little wild, still getting used to the changes. We’re keeping an eye on him.

YVONNE

It’s his first time becoming a wolf?

GREY
No, he picked that up fast. But he’s only been on T for a couple of weeks now, it’s just really
kicking in, and … you know, he’s a little out of control.

YVONNE

Oh, yeah.

GREY
We’ve all been there. I better get back to it, but – Karo, tea soon? Page me! It’s awesome you’re
back!

SOUND: Crashing through the vines again

KARO

(calling after him)
I’m not really … and he’s gone. That’s how the weres go, at least in night mode.

SOUND: They both settle back down again

YVONNE
That was definitely a werewolf. I just met a real, wild … werewolf.

KARO
Well, wild. Grey is one of the pack leaders – so he’s kinda half politician, half beast. We went to
witch school together.

YVONNE
Witch school? You have never mentioned witch school.

KARO
Well, it’s not to become a witch. I mean, there were electives, but … the humans are are kinda
run by a Council of witches, and they’ve got a school that’s pretty handy, a lot of locals send
their kids for a while. The Wilds and the gill folks and kaiju and blobs and … everyone, in a class
side by side.

YVONNE
I can’t believe you left that out of your stories.

KARO
Well, I left partway through, when I decided to … explore elsewhere. Are you still hungry?
There’s candy down here in the bottom, they always put candy in these packages.

YVONNE

(letting them change the subject)
Skeleton bones! I remember these from trick or treating when I was a kid. I’m surprised you
didn’t wait until Halloween to bring me over. That must be quite a thing!

KARO

Halloween isn’t really that big on this side.

YVONNE
You’re kidding me! Where the monsters are real, it’s not …
(after a moment)
You are kidding me. Karo!

KARO
Of course I’m kidding, dork. And believe me, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Karim

  • he’s one of the biggest, scruffiest weres – dressed up like Toto for the parade. But tonight
    we’ve got the moon, the thing at midnight, and I …
    (brief pause, bashful)

I always wanted to be here, with someone … special, when the moon changed. To kiss my
girlfriend at midnight in the pumpkin patch.
(brief pause)
I know, I know, obviously I’m the dork.

YVONNE

You’re the sweetest dork. My monster love.

KARO

Yours.

SOUND: A bit of rustling as they move closer

YVONNE

(enamoured, murmuring)
Tell me there’s no Halloween on this side. The world’s named after October.

KARO

(similarly distracted)
That’s just what the humans call it, really.

YVONNE

(teasing, but also a little wondering)
The humans, and their witch school. You don’t still have some secret life over here? Some other
job, some other girlfriend?

KARO
No, no, and definitely no. It’s been … so many years since I’ve even visited.

YVONNE
I still don’t know what to think of this place. It all … looks real, it feels real …

SOUND: A quiet kiss

YVONNE

You taste real.

KARO
Maybe you should check again, to make sure.
(after a moment)
It is real; I mean, as much as anywhere. And it’s also completely made up. I should have
thought more about how to explain it all – I was just born here. I’ll take you to meet the Endling
some time, they’ll do a better job. I mean, after all, they’re the one who wrote things.

YVONNE
I’m … gonna let that one slide, for now, if we’re going to get into some deep meta discussion
about authors and the essence of reality, I should be a lot less distracted. And I’m liking these
distractions. Come here.

SOUND: A bit of rustling, maybe some gentle breathing

KARO
Keep an eye on the moon. We don’t want to miss it.

SOUND: The quiet fluttering of bird wings in the background, almost too low to notice

YVONNE
We’re not gonna miss the moon, it’s right there, big enough to be –

SOUND: Feathers rustling a bit more loudly now

YVONNE

Umm, I think we’ve got another visitor.

KARO

What?

YVONNE
There’s a … I don’t know, but a big bird sitting over there, and I’d swear it’s watching us.

KARO
(alert now, but more annoyed than concerned)
Oh. Ignore him, maybe he’ll go away.

YVONNE

That’s a little hard to do …

KARO

Trust me.

RAVEN

(energetic)
Karoline! Karolina, Karo-line-from-my-favourite-song, Karoline Says! I didn’t know you were here
walking on the Wild Side!

YVONNE

(laughs unexpectedly)
You know about Lou Reed over here?

RAVEN
How could I not? He wrote a whole album about me!

SOUND: Fluttering of wings as he comes closer

RAVEN
Raven. Not the Raven in any mythological way, just a Raven, but famous for a certain midnight
dreary.

YVONNE
Karo, you said there weren’t actually characters over here … is he really Poe’s Raven?

RAVEN
Why are you asking her? I’m here before you, in all my feathered glory.

YVONNE

All right, fair enough, then –

KARO

(breaking in)
Back off, buddy. Not another word, she doesn’t know about you.
(to Yvonne)
It’s not midnight yet, it’s far from dreary, he is not who he says he is, and he’s basically a dick.

RAVEN
That is utterly unfair. Maybe two of those things are true.

KARO

Grip, if you do not leave us alone …

RAVEN
I thought introductions were in order; I was speaking to Grey and he mentioned your return –

KARO

Trying to get you off his back I assume –

RAVEN
As well as the fair and debonair maiden by your side –

KARO

No.

YVONNE

(laughing, a little unsure)
First time anyone’s called me a maiden, that’s for sure.

KARO
Don’t let him charm you. He’s not even a Raven really, it’s just the form he likes and it gets him
in good with the literary crowd. If he gets around to telling you that he’s actually Poe in this body,
well, keep an eye on your wallet –

RAVEN
And keep an eye on your heart with this one! Chances are you’re not the first dear child that
should have been thy bride.

KARO
That is it. I’m gonna find a good sized rock somewhere and then you’re –

YVONNE
Karo, don’t. I know a shit disturber when I hear one. I’m not buying what he’s selling.

RAVEN

That’s fine. I know where I’m not wanted.

KARO

And yet –

RAVEN
I just thought, in the interest of fair play, someone should offer a warning. Before you find
yourself entangled too deeply in … our Karo’s pumpkin patch.

KARO

You’re pushing it.

SOUND: Wings fluttering

RAVEN
(a big agitated, mixing in a few bird calls)
I mean, speaking as someone who was drawn into another’s story, you deserve to know the
dangers! The world you live in changes you, bit by bit, paragraph by page. These fictional
places might be flexible, but that elasticity is also damnably hard to struggle against when it
envelops you …

KARO

(really upset now)
Enough!

SOUND: Karo grunts as she throws a rock
SOUND: Raven squawking, flapping his wings

RAVEN
Heed my words! Or don’t, whatever. Enjoy your night, Karoline!
(to himself as he flies away)
“For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams …”
(calling back)
Eat my shorts, humans!

(For a few moments, we just hear the night in the
background, as they absorb what happened.)

YVONNE

Karo –

KARO

(at the same time)
I wasn’t really aiming or anything, I just wanted to scare him off.

YVONNE

(joking)
I mean, I’ve seen when you do aim at stuff, it’s not a lot different.

KARO

I just didn’t want you to think …

YVONNE

I didn’t think anything.

KARO

(nervous, speaking quickly)
There’s no trick to any of this. You can visit, tonight, a lot of nights, and it won’t do anything to
you! Hell, I’ve heard the real Poe used to cross back and forth so often, it was his daily
commute. I just … I wanted you to see, I wanted you to know the world and know me in it, I
wanted …

YVONNE

(gently)

Whoa. It’s okay, I get it.
(brief pause)
And it’s okay for this to be about you, too. I mean, how could it not be?

KARO
I guess … I mean, I do miss it sometimes. But I just wanted to show you the moon …

YVONNE
I know you did. But there’s more to this place – it means more to you – than just a moon.

KARO
Yeah, but … I didn’t, I wouldn’t ask you to … especially not without being up front about it! I just
wanted to share one visit, to give you a better idea … I’ve lived with you a long time, I’ve got a
place in your world. We do.

YVONNE

(after a moment)
You have been with me a long time. In my place, on my side. “The world you live in changes you
…”
(gently)
Are you feeling like you’re too much in that world?

KARO

It’s not too much.

YVONNE
People keep saying October is this fictional place, it’s really flexible. But that must also feel …
like a rubber band pulling you back, the longer you stay away, the longer you’re outside your
story.

KARO

(the admission pulled out of her)
It … yeah.

YVONNE

It’s okay for this to be more than one visit.

KARO
I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what I want it to be. I just knew I wanted you here.

YVONNE

And here I am.

(after a moment)
It’s almost midnight.

KARO

How can you tell?

YVONNE
I just know. So how does this moon thing happen, is it like an eclipse or does it change all at
once, like some sort of filter?

KARO

I haven’t really seen it since I was a kid.

YVONNE
Well, snuggle in close with your eyes on the skies.

SOUND: A bit of rustling as they settle in together

KARO

(a bit anxious again)
Yvonne? We can cross back and forth any time we want – the Mothman is a close personal
friend, I’ve always got an in there … if you’re feeling weird about this, or if you feel like you’re
changing, or … I’m changing …

YVONNE

(soothing)
I know. We’ve got time to talk about all of this, sweetheart.

KARO
You’re sure you’re okay with spending time inside … basically a story?

YVONNE

As long as it’s yours.

KARO

(sighs)
Gods, I love you.

YVONNE

(she chuckles)
I love you. Can I get another fictional kiss?

SOUND: They kiss again

YVONNE

Now, show me your moon.

KARO

Okay.

SOUND: There is a slight background hum that builds, not too loud but definitely swelling, for a
moment or three

YVONNE

Oh. So that’s how it happens.

SOUND: Far in the distance, a series of howls fill the air
SOUND: Perhaps we hear wings flapping
SOUND: Maybe another few spooky night time noises as well? Other monsters in the woods

(For a long moment, we listen and the background hum
continues.)

SOUND: The background hum fades out again
SOUND: Country Night Background ends

(The episode ends.)

ANNOUNCER:
This episode was written and produced by D.J. Sylvis. It featured Tina Daniels and Liz Morey, with appearances by Dallas Wheatley and Leeman Kessler. Audio production and original music by Trace Callahan. Our October cover art is by Grendel Menz.

MonkeyTales cover art is by Cora May. Our theme song is “Follow the Muse,” by Deborah Linden.

You can find more information on our website monkeymanproductions.com, or on Twitter under Monkeyman Productions or MonkeyTales. Our Patreon backers make the show possible – join them at patreon.com slash MonkeymanProductions; it’s an amazing way to support independent audio fiction, and we have some great perks to say thank you.

We’re back, and we hope to be back again soon. Keep an eye out for future episodes from Ella Watts, H.E. Casson, and hopefully some more stories from October as well. Until then, friends! 

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