BEFORE THE MOON E3 – “Where the Heart” – Transcript

ANNOUNCER

This is Consortium Channel 5, Moonbase Reports and Broadcasts – Please turn and look directly at this device for subscription identity confirmation.

The Consortium interrupts this broadcast for the following sponsored message.

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ANNOUNCER

Good day. This is a secured transmission – do not decrypt at any public terminal. As complications have been uncovered in the shutdown sequence for Moonbase Theta, Consortium Communications has been asked to provide archival files for certain active personnel. This is a report on said personnel activities … Before the Moon.

The following is file BTM-E3, codeword “Where the Heart.”

(We are outside in the garden at Roger / Alex’s home. Alex is at the churrasqueira cooking while the dogs cavort around him, panting and snuffling.)

ALEX

Não, meninas, vocês sabem que não podem comer o frango. Vai comer sua comida. Vai comer sua comida! Minhas queridas ridículas.  [No, girls, you know you can’t have the chicken. Go eat your own food. Go eat your own food! You ridiculous darlings.]

(We hear the sound of a door opening and closing from a distance – and the dogs, of course, raise hell.)

ROGER

Hi Honey, I’m home!

ALEX

Finally!

ROGER

What? Can’t hear you!

ALEX

Finally!

ROGER

            (deliberately joking)

Oh, about eight-thirty.

ALEX

Come out here, bobo! I’m in the garden!

ROGER

            (coming closer)

Where else would you be? I don’t even know why we own a house.

            (a sliding door opens and closes)
I mean, I love you!

            (the dogs increase to a frenzy)
Down, down, take it easy, girls!

ALEX

Watch them near the fence, they have a grand escape plan. Hi, love.

            (they kiss)

You almost missed dinner.

ROGER

Not a chance. Every churrasco you’ve ever held starts at dusk.

            (he opens the barbecue lid, disapprovingly)

We’re eating meat again?

ALEX

Honey.

ROGER

I just thought we’d agreed that we weren’t going to –

ALEX

It’s all from the cultivated section – that’s what we can afford, anyway. Cultured chicken, cultured pork, cultured beef –

ROGER

More cultured than my ridículo husband.

ALEX

A vaca da onde veio isso aí ainda está vivendo uma vida de luxo. [The cow that came from is still living a life of luxury.]

ROGER

Sure, but it’s still … meat takes more resources to grow than other food.

            (the dogs are getting rambunctious again)

Look at your garden, how can you not get this? Cas, please, not directly in my crotch.

ALEX

That’s Pol, you’ve been away too long.

            (brief pause, we hear the meat sizzle)

The garden and the churrasqueira are all part of the same thing. I love the variety of life. I don’t want to miss out.

ROGER

Well, keep your meat juice away from my veggie skewers.

            (brief pause)

That wasn’t Pol.

ALEX

            (laughs)

I almost got you.

ROGER

You’re so evil. Your poor, beleaguered husband home from the wars …

ALEX

The astronaut wars. How long do I get you?

ROGER

Just tonight. I’m sorry. We have to be back to train in the vacuum chamber tomorrow morning at ten.

ALEX

Your visits keep getting shorter.

ROGER

I’m sorry.

ALEX

One day, you’re going to come in, pet the dogs, pet poor Alex, and turn right back around again to leave.

ROGER

That’s not … I can’t help this.

ALEX

I know. I’m sorry, meu amado. I just … I miss you, you know?

ROGER

I know. I’m sorry.

ALEX

Stop saying that. Sit down, breathe, the flowers are blooming.

ROGER

            (we hear him do just that)

I should get Nessa out here, one of the agriculturalists. We were working on a … thing and she talked flowers most of the time.  

ALEX

What were you working on?

ROGER

A mission … thing. You know. Hand me a beer?

            (he pops the cap and drinks)

ALEX

I don’t know.

ROGER

I can’t give you details,

ALEX

I’m your damn husband!

ROGER

I signed the papers, under penalty of … penalty! They don’t even like that we’re allowed to say, “The Moon,” but it’s hard to keep that quiet.

ALEX

If I didn’t know about the Moon, we’d really be fighting.

ROGER

            (we hear the dogs snuffling and whining)

Cas! Pol! I miss you two every night I slip into bed – and there’s actually room to stretch out.

ALEX

They want you to throw the ball. That ball has been very big for them this summer.

ROGER

I’ll … get my glove.

ALEX

Pai do Céu. Just pick it up and throw!

ROGER

They’ve slobbered all over it.

ALEX

Look at their eyes! They’re going to think you don’t love them.

ROGER

Oh, fine.

(He throws the ball, we hear both dogs run off in pursuit, barking and whining. For a moment, things quiet down.)

ROGER

Come on, girls. Bring it back … no, to me …

ALEX

They aren’t so good at that part.

ROGER

I noticed.

ALEX

            (after a pause)

Alex, tell me about your week! Why Roger, love, thank you for asking.

ROGER

How have things been here?

ALEX

We have new neighbours next door, you might not notice now because the kids are indoors. When they’re out … well, the dogs are happy, they’ve been playing games back and forth across the hedges.

ROGER

Are the parents nice?

ALEX

We haven’t talked much, but they seem like lovely ladies.

ROGER

            (warmly)

By now, our neighbourhood must qualify as an official gay village.

ALEX

Therapy has been all right. I’m going every Thursday now.  

            (brief pause)

Last week, on my way home after, I stopped at the club. The old crowd has been getting back together.

ROGER

On weeknights?

ALEX

We’re all old, weekends are family time.

ROGER

Did they ask you to sit in?

ALEX

It wasn’t like that, I’d have to find all my old gear.

ROGER

I’d love to see you up there again.

ALEX

I couldn’t do that anymore. You’ve only ever been in the audience for a Slam; you should try it from the stage!

ROGER

Not even once, for your adoring husband?

ALEX

If you’re ever here when they plan something.

ROGER

Oof.

ALEX

            (pretending not to notice)

I got a message from my moms the other day – half a message, the Enclave ate the other half. They said they’ve seen some really nice houses on the edge of the desert.

ROGER

What’s wrong with the house they have?

ALEX

They mean for us. When you come back for good.

ROGER

I haven’t even left yet!

ALEX

They just like to … they said it’s beautiful. They even sent a painting.  

ROGER

We’ll … have to go visit, for sure. For a visit.

            (a bit of an uncomfortable pause)

How has work been lately?

ALEX

They keep sending me into the field, there’s nothing new to design. You know the Enclave.

ROGER

What do you mean by that?

ALEX

What?

ROGER

Ever since I got home, it’s been one little dig after another. “When you come home.” “You might not notice.” “You know the Enclave.”

ALEX

You asked me about work and that’s how it’s been at my –

ROGER

Do you think I don’t feel bad enough, being away so often already? Didn’t we talk all this out? You said you understood why I need to do this, why I’m making these sacrifices so I can –

ALEX

Is it a sacrifice?

ROGER

Love.

ALEX

It feels like the sacrifice was you coming home. You want to be there, all your thoughts are still there. You’ll be out the door again tomorrow morning.

ROGER

That’s not even fair.

ALEX

Are you fair to me? To Cas and Pol? At least you said you missed them in bed.

ROGER

You seem to be doing just fine in my absence. You’re out to the club, you’re seeing … Kevin … once a week now.

ALEX

I’m surprised you remember his name.

ROGER

I’m surprised you’re still with him. I know how you love the “variety of life.”

(As their voices are raised, Cas and Pol have closed in again, concerned and barking back and forth between them.)

ALEX

Vou fingir que você não disse isso. Você sabe que eu não sou – [I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that. You know I’m not –]

ROGER

            (in bad Portuguese back)

Eu não sei o que você é agora mesmo! Eu não sei o que está acontencendo, tudo que eu queria é… queria é…  [I don’t know what you are right now! I don’t know what’s going on, all I wanted was to … ]

            (in English again, frustrated)

Dammit, I don’t know the words.

            (the dogs are still barking, he snaps)

Cas, Pol, could you give it just a minute?

ALEX

The churrasqueira! I have to turn the … where’s the damn fork I used …

(For a moment, we hear him adjusting items on the grill, and the sizzle of the food on the hot coals.)

ROGER

Should I order some pizza?

ALEX

It’ll be a little bit burnt, but still okay.

ROGER

Like us. I hope.

            (little guilty laugh)

ALEX

Your Portuguese has gotten worse.

ROGER

They don’t like us using it. I’m sorry, love.

ALEX

I just want time with you. It feels like you’re gone way before … you’re gone.

ROGER

I’m here. Right here, right now.

ALEX

There’s a poem …

            (Roger laughs, a familiar refrain)

I’m going to get you to enjoy poetry! There’s a Chinese poem, by Li Bai, it’s been in my head lately. It’s called “Drinking Alone under the Moon.”

            (reciting)

Among the blossoms waits a jug of wine.

I pour myself a drink, no loved one near.

Raising my cup, I invite the bright moon

and turn to my shadow. We are now three.

But the moon doesn’t understand drinking,

and my shadow follows my body like a slave.

For a time moon and shadow will be my companions,

a passing joy that should last through the spring.

I sing and the moon just wavers in the sky;

I dance and my shadow whips around like mad.

While lucid still, we have such fun together!

But stumbling drunk, each staggers off alone.

Bound forever, relentless we roam:

reunited at last on the distant river of stars.

ROGER

            (slowly, absorbing it)

That’s … Okay, I get that.

ALEX

I know it’s going to be my life soon. But not yet, Roger.

            (they embrace, his voice is muffled)

Not yet.

ROGER

            (quiet, intimate)

I have missed you. In and out of bed. Your voice downstairs with the dogs while I’m lingering half-asleep, the scent of you in the sheets, knowing you’ll come back and kiss me a minute later …

            (they kiss)

ALEX

I love you.

ROGER

I love you too. You know I do.

ALEX

I worry about the Enclave, and … the past, and the ways things are changing. I guess I worry too much. But I know … the Moon. I know how important it is to you.

ROGER

Do you? I’m not sure I’ve ever really said. Not really.

            (pause)

You know how I grew up. Foster homes … the best of them are something of a shitshow, considering the Enclave pays just enough to attract the moneygrubbers and not enough to actually raise a child. And it’s never people who could afford to help on their own who actually … help. I bounced around a lot, this skinny kid who couldn’t win fights, too young for a job, I wasn’t that good at school … I couldn’t afford real media licenses, but books were an easy escape. My only escape. I read in bed by the light from the hallway, I read on the tubes when I could afford them – I read while I was walking when I couldn’t. I wanted adventures, and hope, and … nothing on Earth seemed realistic. But even the crappiest, old-school, space-opera sci-fi could grab me. It still felt like … it feels like … something to reach for. A real escape, a step out of the shit we’re buried in here. I know the same companies own the Moonbases that own us now, but somehow … the dreams still carry through, and they still feel like … dreams. Dreams worth chasing. They always felt so far beyond my grasp, but then this came up and I couldn’t help but jump, reach out with both hands and … I’m sorry. I know I’m not explaining it very well.

ALEX

You’re doing just fine, meu amado.

            (we hear them embrace, his voice is muffled)

You’re doing okay.

            (crying a little)
I love you.

ROGER

I’m sorry about dinner. If I’d gotten home earlier, we could have fought and had a perfectly cooked meal.

ALEX

The food will be fine. Don’t question my culinary skills.

ROGER

Fair enough.

ALEX

Most of it you won’t eat anyway.

ROGER

Whose fault is that?

ALEX

Don’t start.

            (brief pause)

You won’t forget about me up there? While you’re living your dream?

ROGER

I wish I could take you with me.

ALEX

That’s not an answer.

            (brief pause, intensely)
Remember me. Cas and Pol. Remember the house, the garden, our home. Don’t you dare –

ROGER

How could I forget? Ever? You’re my heart. You’re my world.

ALEX

            (after a moment, a bit ragged)

At least we have tonight. Just hold me, seu maldito.

ROGER

I’ve got you. I’m here.

(For another long moment, we hear them breathe, unable to speak. Even the dogs – we hear their collars rattling, their toenails as they pace, but they don’t bark. Finally:)

ROGER

We’re never gonna have dinner, are we?

ALEX

Just shut up.

(The dogs bark playfully. We hear them cavorting in the background, and the sizzle of the food cooking. The episode ends.)

D.J. SYLVIS

This episode featured Leeman Kessler as Roger, and Gabriel Taneko as Alex. It was also edited by Gabriel Taneko, written and produced by me – D.J. Sylvis.

Theme music is “Star” by the band Ramp. You can find more information and a transcript of the episode on our website – monkeymanproductions dot com.

Thank you so much for supporting us, and helping to make our stories happen. So much love from the moon down to you. And speaking of love, next up will be our Nessa episode, “Sweetness” with Elissa Park, and Leslie Gideon back as Elena. I promise you.. it really lives up to the title, and I can’t wait to share it with you. Until then.

ANNOUNCER

Consortium Channel 5 ends our broadcast day with a final message: honour all curfews, listen to Security, and KEEP WATCHING THE MOON.

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