Episode 48: “Your Shadow at Evening”

https://player.acast.com/SheridanTapes/episodes/episode-48-your-shadow-at-evening

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

CONTENT WARNING: Discussions and depictions of police violence and corruption, mild dissociation, strong language, and character betrayal.

11072019b: Returning home, Bill Tyler grapples with the revelation of Morrison’s actions… And the role he played in enabling them.

Starring Jesse Steele as Bill Tyler, Chris Martin as Robert Quincy, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, Mike Kennedy as Edgar Morrison, and Ezra J Wayne as Ned Leroux, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written by Trevor Van Winkle and produced by Virginia Spotts and Trevor Van Winkle, and made possible by our supporters at Patreon.com/homesteadcorner and ko-fi.com/homesteadcorner

For more information, additional content, and episode transcript, visit thesheridantapes.com

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3582-dance-of-the-sugar-plum-fairies
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Script

Transcript

CONTENT WARNING: Discussions and depictions of police violence and corruption, mild dissociation, strong language, and character betrayal.

Cold Open

[A noisy, chaotic office party – laughter, loud conversation, and the clink of beer bottles as a Christmas song – the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies – plays in the background]

[Footsteps cut through the din as someone climbs a small platform and begins speaking into a microphone. They tap the mic. The buzz of conversation fades]

EDGAR MORRISON

Welcome, one and all, to the 2018 Oslow County Police Department Christmas Party. I want to take a moment to thank you all for being here tonight. For those taking time off and spending the holidays with friends and family, thank you for joining us for one more night. And for everyone else who isn’t going home for Christmas – thank you. Thank you for holding the line for the rest of us. I owe you all a drink come New Year’s.

[A few claps and polite cheers go up around the room]

Now I know you all came here to celebrate, and my speeches have a tendency to end up a bit somber, so I’ll be brief. As many of you know, I’ve put on a Christmas party for this department every year since I became chief for one very simple reason. This season is about shining a light into the darkest nights of the year, combining our wills against the shadow and cold of winter and saying – No. You will not prevail. We will endure.

That’s what we do here, every day. And it takes all of us – every single person in this room, standing shoulder to shoulder against the chaos and violence that’s always there, just waiting for our vigilance to slip. [half-beat] Some people think we take our jobs too seriously. That we shouldn’t do everything it takes to protect the safety of our homes and families. That we should

just roll over and let people try to protect themselves.

[A few people chuckle at that along with Morrison]

Yeah. We all know how that would end. Just like we know that the sacrifices of each and every officer in this department is the only thing standing between Oslow County and total anarchy. We are the light that shines in the darkness. And we will endure.

And on that note, I’d like to raise a toast to you by way of a short poem. I know it’s unconventional, but it’s always been a personal favorite of mine, and I hope that it can offer you some encouragement as well.

[He clears his throat]

“But where was the child delaying? 

On the homeward way was he, 

And across the dike while the sun was up 

An hour above the sea. 

He was stopping now to gather flowers, 

Now listening to the sound, 

As the angry waters dashed themselves Against their narrow bound.

“Ah! well for us,” said Peter, 

“That the gates are good and strong, 

And my father tends them carefully,

Or they would not hold you long!

You’re a wicked sea,” said Peter;

“I know why you fret and chafe;

You would like to spoil our lands and homes; 

But our sluices keep you safe!”

But hark! Through the noise of waters, 

Comes a low, clear, trickling sound; 

And the child’s face pales with terror, 

And his blossoms drop to the ground.

He is up the bank in a moment, 

And, stealing through the sand, 

He sees a stream not yet so large 

As his slender, childish hand.

‘Tis a leak in the dike! 

He is but a boy, Unused to fearful scenes;

But, young as he is, he has learned to know 

The dreadful thing that means.

A leak in the dike! The stoutest heart 

Grows faint that cry to hear,

And the bravest man in all the land 

Turns white with mortal fear.

For he knows the smallest leak may grow 

To a flood in a single night;

And he knows the strength of the cruel sea 

When loosed in its angry might.

And the boy! He has seen the danger, 

And, shouting a wild alarm,

He forces back the weight of the sea 

With the strength of his single arm!

He listens for the joyful sound

Of a footstep passing nigh;

And lays his ear to the ground, to catch 

The answer to his cry.

And he hears the rough winds blowing, 

And the waters rise and fall, 

But never an answer comes to him, 

Save the echo of his call.

He sees no hope, no succor,

His feeble voice is lost;

Yet what shall he do but watch and wait, 

Though he perish at his post!

So, faintly calling and crying 

Till the sun is under the sea;

Crying and moaning till the stars 

Come out for company;

He thinks of his brother and sister, 

Asleep in their safe warm bed; 

He thinks of his father and mother, 

Of himself as dying – and dead;

And of how, when the night is over, 

They must come and find him at last: 

But he never thinks he can leave the place 

Where duty holds him fast.”

[With the last word, Morrison pauses, then turns the music back up as he steps off the platform, the music (Carol of the Bells) clashing awkwardly with his words]

[The crowd slowly and awkwardly begins to talk again, a little uncertain]

SAM BAILEY 

Jesus Christ…

BILL TYLER 

You okay over there, Sam?

SAM BAILEY 

What? Oh… Yeah. Is he always like that, uh…?

BILL TYLER 

Bill. We met at the briefing last week.

SAM BAILEY 

Right. Is Morrison always that… Intense?

BILL TYLER 

Only when he’s had a few. I mean, I’ve met sad drunks and angry drunks and funny drunks, but Morrison’s the only person I know who gets more serious when he’s drinking.

SAM BAILEY

[Under his breath]

Of course he is.

BILL TYLER

I’m sure he does actually feel that way… It just doesn’t come up much, you know? He just – really believes in what we’re doing here.

SAM BAILEY 

Hm. And what about you?

BILL TYLER

What about me?

SAM BAILEY 

Do you believe in it?

BILL TYLER 

Uh… Well, yeah, I guess so. I mean… We’re keeping people safe. And, and… we’re helping the community, and that’s…

[Cassette noises]

Yeah. I do.

[Click]

Main Theme

Recording Begins

[Cassette noises]

[Static fades out]

[A door closes quietly as Bill enters the apartment. He locks it slowly, then lets out a deep, weary sigh]

[In the background of Bill’s apartment, someone is cooking]

BILL TYLER 

Lieutenant Bill Tyler, Oslow County Police Department. Recording on November 7th, 2019 at 4:23p –

ROBERT QUINCY 

[calling from the kitchen]

Bill? Is that you?

BILL TYLER 

Uh… Yeah, it’s… It’s me.

ROBERT QUINCY

Weren’t you supposed to be working late again?

BILL TYLER 

Uh… Morrison let me leave early.

ROBERT QUINCY 

Huh. Well… Dinner’s still about 30 minutes out, if you’re hungry.

BILL TYLER

That’s fine, I… I’m going to go lie down for a minute.

ROBERT QUINCY 

[Approaching closer]

Everything okay?

BILL TYLER 

Yeah, yeah, just… I just have a bit of a headache.

ROBERT QUINCY

Oh Bill, I’m sorry… Do you need – ?

BILL TYLER

I just need to lie down. Please, just… Keep working on dinner.

ROBERT QUINCY 

Uh… Yeah. Sure. Just let me know if you need anything, okay?

[Bill doesn’t answer, just marches straight down the hall and into the bedroom, closing the door behind him]

[As soon as he does, he sighs heavily, like he’s barely holding himself together]

[Cooking noises drift down the hall]

BILL TYLER 

God fucking damn it.

Morrison killed Anna. He sent Sam on a wild goose chase that almost got him killed, and he knew he wouldn’t find anything. And I… I just stood there. Defending him to Sam like some kind of…

[Bill trails off, then reels back and punches the wall, grunting in pain and rage as he dents the drywall]

ROBERT QUINCY 

[muffled, down the hall]

Bill? Are you okay?

BILL TYLER 

I’m fine! Don’t come in here!

ROBERT QUINCY 

[approaching from beyond the door]

What was that noise?

BILL TYLER 

I punched the fucking wall, alright!?

ROBERT QUINCY

Jesus Bill, are you okay? What’s…

[Robert rattles the door handle, but the door doesn’t open]

ROBERT QUINCY 

Why is the door locked, Bill?

BILL TYLER 

I’m… It’s okay Rob, I’m fine. I just… I just needed to let that out. Please, just… I need to be alone for a little bit.

ROBERT QUINCY 

Bill, I –

BILL TYLER

Just go away!

[Both fall silent. After a long moment]

ROBERT QUINCY

Al… Alright.

[He slowly walks back down the hall]

BILL TYLER 

Rob? Rob, I didn’t mean it like that, I just…

Shit. Nice work, Tyler. Now you’ve really done it.

[Bill sits down on the edge of the bed]

He must have had a reason to kill her. She probably didn’t give him a choice. She must have threatened him, and…

No. If it was self-defense, he could have gotten away with it. He would have told someone… he should have told someone. And if this was all about settling some old score, then –

[From the kitchen, pots and pans clatter loudly into the sink]

BILL TYLER 

What the hell is Rob doing in there?

[The bed creaks as Bill stands up, he then unlocks the door, and walks down the hall]

[Rob is loudly scraping the sauce he’d been preparing into the sink with a wooden spoon]

BILL TYLER 

Rob? What the… What are you doing?

ROBERT QUINCY 

Oh, look who decided to show his face. I thought you wanted to be left alone?

BILL TYLER 

What are you doing?

ROBERT QUINCY 

Oh, this? Well, I was making chicken parm for dinner, but since you weren’t going to be here, I figured it wasn’t worth the effort. Think I’ll order pizza instead… You want some?

BILL TYLER 

Oh Christ Rob, just… Just stop, okay? You’re acting like a –

[A spoon clatters into the sink]

ROBERT QUINCY 

Like what? A child? Well, maybe I am, but I don’t think you can throw stones on that front, Mr. Glass House.

BILL TYLER

Look, I’m sorry, okay? But it’s been really, really tough these

last few weeks, and the least you could do is –

ROBERT QUINCY

Oh, it’s been tough for you, has it? I’ve barely seen you for the past two weeks! Do you have any idea what it’s like, sitting up at night wondering if you’re alive or dead out there?

BILL TYLER 

Well at least I didn’t quit the moment things got hard! At least I didn’t leave you to deal with Morrison on your own!

[The both freeze, and a deadly silence falls over the kitchen as Robert turns the water off. After a moment…]

ROBERT QUINCY 

Don’t. You. Ever. Say that to me again. I asked you to leave. You chose to ignore me. That’s. On. You.

BILL TYLER 

It… I wasn’t… I didn’t have a… There were other things I needed to…

[Beat]

Fuck.

[Bill turns and sinks into one of the dining room chairs, defeated. After a moment, Rob carefully approaches]

ROBERT QUINCY 

What happened, Bill? What’s going on with you?

BILL TYLER

You were right. Right about all of it. I knew it from the start, and they finally convinced me.

ROBERT QUINCY 

Who’s they?

BILL TYLER 

I… I can’t tell you.

ROBERT QUINCY 

Bill… Look at me. Whatever this is, it’s hurting you. I can see it every day. It’s tearing you up inside, and so long as you don’t tell me… It’s hurting me too.

BILL TYLER 

You don’t have to –

ROBERT QUINCY

Bill, just listen to me for a few minutes, okay? Just… Don’t say anything. You can keep this a secret if you want. I can’t force you to tell me anything, and I really don’t want to try. But I’ll still know it’s there. I’ll know there’s a pain I can’t take away, and I can’t do anything to fix. And I’ll keep knowing that as long as you keep it a secret from me.

I’ll do what I can to make it better. I’ll try to make it easier for you to avoid, try not to mention anything that reminds you of it. But eventually, I’ll get tired of walking on eggshells around you. I’ll grow to resent whatever is keeping us apart, then start to resent myself for letting it happen, and finally – I’ll start resenting you. And the worst part is… I’ll want to keep that from you, too.

So we’ll both end up lying to each other, pretending to be okay. And then sooner or later… One of us will decide we can’t do it anymore, and we’ll go our separate ways. Maybe on good terms, maybe not. Maybe months or years or decades from now… Or maybe it’ll never happen. Maybe we’ll just stay together, letting that resentment fester. But whatever happens… It started here.

Alternatively… You could tell me what’s going on with you. You could be honest about what you’re going through and let me try to help you. I might not know what to do, but at least we’d know I was trying to help. And whenever it gets too much for me to handle… I’ll let you know that too. And even if we don’t know how to help each other, we’ll both be trying our best. That’s all I’m asking for. That’s all I need. I don’t need you to be superhuman. I don’t want you to be strong or brave or perfect all the time… I want you to be here, with me. All of you. The good and the bad. For better or worse.

[There’s a long pause as Bill thinks this through – then he sighs]

BILL TYLER

You’re right. Of course you’re right.

ROBERT QUINCY 

[Relieved chuckle]

Try not to sound so surprised.

[Bill gives a pained laugh, then takes a deep breath, collecting his thoughts]

BILL TYLER 

Morrison is planning something. Some kind of experiment to cut off… Well, all of the supernatural things happening in Oslow. Permanently.

ROBERT QUINCY 

And that’s… Bad?

BILL TYLER 

Yeah. Sam is… He’s some kind of doppelgänger. Kind of like the Echo, but… Not. It’s complicated, but… If Morrison’s test works, then –

ROBERT QUINCY 

It’ll kill him?

BILL TYLER

Worse than that. You remember what happened to all the Echoes?

ROBERT QUINCY 

Jesus. That’s what would happen to Sam?

BILL TYLER

That’s what everyone seems to think. That, or Morrison might mess it up and make things worse.

ROBERT QUINCY 

…How long have you known?

BILL TYLER

Since last Saturday. I followed Ned out onto the flats and figured out… Well, everything.

ROBERT QUINCY

Why didn’t you tell me?

BILL TYLER

I thought… I thought they had a plan to stop it. I thought I could just run out the clock and let them take care of it, so… I didn’t tell you. I didn’t want you to worry, but… I’m sorry. I should have said something.

ROBERT QUINCY 

Who’s “they?”

BILL TYLER

All of them. Everyone’s back in Oslow now, they’re… they’re trying to figure this out. Kate and Maria – you remember, Anna’s girlfriend? And… Sam too.

ROBERT QUINCY 

Sam’s back?

BILL TYLER

Yeah. They’re all staying at Jerry’s place, they’re trying to figure out a plan. That’s where I’ve been going the last couple days. And earlier today… Maria found something on one of Anna’s tapes. It… brought a lot of things into focus.

ROBERT QUINCY 

You mean all this time you’ve been… What, helping Sam stay hidden?

[Relieved laughter]

Oh, thank god. I almost thought you were cheating on me.

BILL TYLER

You thought I was what?

ROBERT QUINCY 

I said I almost thought you were… 

Wait… One of Anna’s tapes? I thought they were destroyed?

BILL TYLER 

That’s… I kind of lied about that too. But that was definitely the right call.

ROBERT QUINCY 

Why? What was on the tape?

BILL TYLER

Just Anna, talking about her dad. He used to work with Morrison. They had a… A falling out, apparently. A really bad one. And I think he… He killed Anna because of it.

ROBERT QUINCY 

Holy shit…

BILL TYLER 

Yeah.

[In the quiet, we can hear the pasta still boiling in the background]

ROBERT QUINCY 

Did… Is that why you stayed with the department? To spy on Morrison?

BILL TYLER 

No, no it’s… it’s not. I wish I could say that, but… I genuinely thought I was doing the right thing. Even after what he did to Sam. I thought it was… I thought we were helping people. Keeping them safe.

ROBERT QUINCY 

Do you think so now?

BILL TYLER 

[Weary sigh]

No, I… I don’t. I don’t think I’ve really believed that for a long time, now.

ROBERT QUINCY

[Carefully]

And are you going to quit now?

BILL TYLER 

Look, I’m really tired, Rob. I don’t think this is the best…

ROBERT QUINCY

Bill.

BILL TYLER

Of course I am. I can’t keep doing this anymore. I should have quit six months ago.

[After a moment of silence, Rob walks over to Bill and embraces him]

ROBERT QUINCY 

I am so, so proud of you, Bill. [he pulls back] Are you okay?

BILL TYLER 

Mostly, yeah.

[Across the room, a pot on the stove suddenly boils over, hissing and spitting]

ROBERT QUINCY

Oh shit, the pasta’s boiling over.

[Rob breaks the hug and rushes to the kitchen, turning down the fire and stirring]

BILL TYLER 

What was that about just ordering pizza?

ROBERT QUINCY 

Let’s just say… Somebody changed my mind about that.

[He puts a lid on the pot and the bubbling quiets down]

Oh, would you mind running to the store really quick? I, uh… Just dumped our last can of tomato sauce down the drain.

BILL TYLER 

[He laughs]

Anything for you, my love.

[Bill crosses to the door, turns the knob… Then freezes. He sits there for a moment before…]

ROBERT QUINCY 

Everything okay? 

[Bill pauses a moment]

BILL TYLER 

Yeah. I’ll be right back.

[He closes the door and the screen door begins to creak shut]

[Click]

[Silence]

[A heavy switch is thrown, echoing. A computer starts up as someone enters a command on a keyboard, accessing a recording]

EDGAR MORRISON 

[Heavy knocking from across the room]

[Muffled as his hands work on the recorder] Jesus Christ, I didn’t want to deal with this today…

Come in!

[The door opens and closes]

EDGAR MORRISON

Ah, Tyler, good to see you. I was just about to call –

BILL TYLER 

[Banging his hand on his desk]

Save it. Why didn’t you tell me?

EDGAR MORRISON

Tell you what?

BILL TYLER

Don’t play dumb, Morrison… It doesn’t suit you.

EDGAR MORRISON

I’m not. You just haven’t specified what you’re talking about.

BILL TYLER 

Well let’s start small then. Leroux.

EDGAR MORRISON 

What about Leroux?

BILL TYLER 

Where to begin? First off, that’s not his real name. Second, he’s not even human. Third, he’s a shapeshifting psychopath you put in the morgue less than a year ago!

EDGAR MORRISON 

Oh. So you saw him change, did you? Well… I’m sorry about that. I didn’t think you would be comfortable working with him if you knew.

BILL TYLER 

[Scoffs]

You can say that again…

EDGAR MORRISON

But after all the good work you did with Sam, I thought you might be able to keep him more… Grounded than he would be otherwise. I’m sure you understand it was in everyone’s best –

BILL TYLER 

Oh no, we’re not done. I didn’t just see him change, Morrison. I followed him out onto the flats. I saw your little… Experiment. I know what you’re trying to do.

EDGAR MORRISON 

You did, did you? That’s… Unfortunate. But not entirely unexpected. I figured you would catch on sooner or later. What did you think we were doing with the monsters after you dealt with them?

BILL TYLER 

Then why keep it a secret!? Why did you lie about it!?

EDGAR MORRISON

I didn’t. That information was simply need-to-know.

BILL TYLER 

But why?

EDGAR MORRISON

Because people still can’t accept the existential danger these things represent. And it’s better they don’t know what we need to do in order to protect them, just that we do it. If they learned the truth, well… Humanity’s capacity for empathy is truly remarkable. People might begin to pity the creatures we’ve captured.

BILL TYLER 

Why shouldn’t they? Half of them don’t even look like monsters in the first place. I mean for godssake, Sam was –

EDGAR MORRISON

Sam was the most dangerous and insidious being I’ve ever encountered. He could have killed millions the same way he killed the Echo, but he looked and acted completely human. If he’d been on our side, he would have been the perfect weapon. As it turned out, he was a walking, talking calamity just waiting to happen. I know you’re not proud of what you did to him, but your actions prevented disaster.

BILL TYLER

And what about Anna, huh? Did murdering her keep anyone safe?

EDGAR MORRISON

[Finally thrown off]

Killing An… What are you talking about?

BILL TYLER

[Banging his desk again]

Stop lying to me! You knew her dad. You hated him. And you killed her to get back at him!

EDGAR MORRISON 

Bill, these wild and baseless allegations are verging dangerously close to insubordination. If you don’t back down, I’ll have no choice but to relieve you of duty.

BILL TYLER 

God, what a fucking cliché.

EDGAR MORRISON 

Excuse me?

[Bill pulls a piece of paper from his pocket, drops it on Morrison’s desk]

BILL TYLER 

[Mocking the cliché]

“You can’t fire me. I quit.”

EDGAR MORRISON 

What is this?

[He looks over it as Bill talks]

BILL TYLER

Letter of resignation. I’ve had it in my desk for six months now, but I just kept talking myself out of handing it in. I almost did it when Rob quit, but… [sarcastically] I just couldn’t let go.

[Morrison pauses, then leans over and opens a drawer on his desk, pulling out a lighter]

BILL TYLER 

Uh… Sir? [Morrison flicks open a Zippo lighter] What are… What the hell are you doing?

EDGAR MORRISON 

Same thing I always do in situations like this. [He clicks the flame on] Destroying the evidence.

[The paper ignites. He holds onto it for a moment, then pulls out a metal trash can and drops it inside. It crackles in the background as it burns]

BILL TYLER 

Chief, you… You can’t just –

EDGAR MORRISON 

Can’t what, Tyler? Can’t decide what’s best for my officers? Can’t use my own discretion? Can’t protect this county – this country – in the way I see fit? It seems I’m the only one who can. Especially with you going soft the moment you see your first bit of collateral damage. We’re at war, Tyler. Always have been, whether you believe it or not.

How’s Sam doing, by the way? Still having nightmares?

BILL TYLER 

What? No, no, he’s, uh… You said it yourself, he’s dead, so he –

EDGAR MORRISON

[Angry laugh]

Now you’re the one who’s playing dumb. I know you’re smarter than that, but… Do try to play on my level for a moment, will you? You know about Andrew Sheridan. You know about his history in Oslow. The only way you could possibly know that is from one of Anna’s tapes… 1-1-4-3-6, was it? So you have the tapes… The ones you told me Sam destroyed. Which means you were covering for him that night. Which means I can’t trust anything you’ve told me. Ergo… Samuel Isaac Bailey is still alive. You didn’t kill him when you were supposed to. You’re working with him instead. Trying to bring me down.

BILL TYLER

No, that’s not… Look, I quit, okay? I’m out. You don’t need to worry about me anymore.

EDGAR MORRISON

I’m afraid I very much need to worry about you, Bill. It’s like I tried to tell Sam: If you’re not with me on this… Then you’re in my way.

[At this, Bill turns and runs to the door, opening it]

BILL TYLER

Ned!? How did you…?

EDGAR MORRISON 

I called him the moment you started banging on my door. He heard everything.

BILL TYLER 

[Desperate appeal]

Ned, I… You can’t seriously be okay with this? After everything we’ve been through?

NED LEROUX 

[Oddly sad]

I’m sorry Bill… But it was always going to end like this. I think we both knew that.

BILL TYLER 

Shit…

[Bill backs away, looking for an exit. Morrison stands]

EDGAR MORRISON 

I suggest you come quietly, Tyler. The station’s pretty empty, and I don’t want this to get any messier than it has to. Besides, even if someone did hear you scream – they wouldn’t dare try to stop me.

[Click]

[Beep]

Recording Ends


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s