NARRATOR: Today is a special in Greater Boston. Today is the day that Jake Fisher arrives from another world through some strange time traveling device that I don’t fully understand. It’s got something to do with doors and a place called . . . Ostium. In just a few moments he’ll walk through that door and onto the platform at Alewife station on the Red Line. I don’t really know why he’s coming here, at least not yet. But perhaps once he makes his dramatic entrance, I will know and comprehend more.
And here he is now.
Enter one Jake Fisher.
His clothes are wrinkled and disheveled, his hair unkempt. He appears to have gone through a lot. I’m curious as to when he last slept. My guess is as good as yours, even though I’m the narrator. You see Jake Fisher doesn’t belong in this world. He is a visitor here, a stranger, an interloper, one might even say . . . An intruder.
Does he belong here? That’s a decision you will have to arrive at.
Jake Fisher is walking onto the platform, looking at the Alewife Station sign, wondering where he is and perhaps more importantly, why he is here . . .
JAKE: Are you . . . Are you talking to me?
NARRATOR: He is confused at the moment. Unsure of what is going on . . .
JAKE: You know I can hear you, right?
NARRATOR: The questions continue as he tries to understand what has happened to him, and where he has ended up this time. Perhaps Jake Fish-
JAKE: Please stop that. I can hear everything you’re saying. Who are you? Where are you?
NARRATOR: Wait, you’re telling the truth? You really can hear me?
JAKE: Yes. What’s going on here?
NARRATOR: That . . . That has never happened before. There have been plenty of occasions where I have tried to reach someone, and even more when I have really wanted to, but all to no avail. Except now . . . Maybe it has something to do with your being from the outside? Not from here.
JAKE: Where even is here? Alewife? What kind of name is that for a train station?
NARRATOR: It is named after Alewife Brook. You are standing on a platform of the Red Line in Greater Boston.
JAKE: Boston huh? And . . . What year is it? Nothing really jumps at me indicating it’s the distant past or future.
NARRATOR: The year is 2018.
JAKE: Oh, okay then. Don’t know if I ever expected to be back in such a contemporary year, where nothing big really happened, related to Ostium at least.
NARRATOR: There is a lot happening in 2018. The incorporation of the town of Red Line. The election of its new mayor. Not to mention the whole “molasses incident.”
JAKE: The town of Red Line? I thought this was a subway line?
NARRATOR: Oh it is. But a group of people decided to make the Red Line better. More efficient. To get people to where they want to go faster. And to make this line of the T a better place for all who inhabit it.
JAKE: Wait! If it’s its own town, then where do the people live? In homes near the stations?
NARRATOR: No. They live on the trains. Two or more people or entire families live in the train cars.
JAKE: With all those seats? Do they sleep on them? In sleeping bags perhaps?
NARRATOR: No, silly. The cars have been converted into homes for the people that live there.
JAKE: Wow, that’s something I’ve got to see.
NARRATOR: In two minutes you shall have your wish, when the 10:40 arrives.
[Train rolling into station]
JAKE: Holy shit. I thought you were kidding. You’re goddamn serious.
JAKE: They really are living on the train. Looks like most of the train cars. And there are the people, just living in their homes . . . On the train car. And the passengers get on . . . In their homes.
NARRATOR: Indeed. And you need to get on too.
JAKE: Why? Where are we going?
NARRATOR: You’ll see in time.
[Train door whooshing open]
JAKE: Hi, hi. Excuse me. Thank you. I’ll just stand here. Sorry to bother you. Don’t mind me.
JAKE [whispering]: I feel really uncomfortable right now. This feels so weird.
NARRATOR: You shouldn’t feel so. This is just a normal day on the Red Line.
JAKE [whispering]: Can they hear you talking to me?
NARRATOR: No. But people can hear you talking to me.
JAKE [whispering, exasperated]: That’s why I’m whispering.
NARRATOR: No shit, Sherlock.
JAKE [whispering]: Okay, I didn’t expect. Why are you even talking to me anyway? Are you Marley’s ghost or something?
NARRATOR: Very droll. No. I am the current narrator for Greater Boston, and today I am narrating your story.
JAKE [whispering]: Do you narrate everyone’s story?
NARRATOR: Yes. There was another narrator, but he couldn’t take it anymore. He found me annoying, I suppose.
JAKE [whispering, sarcastic]: I wonder why.
NARRATOR: Unlike the other narrator, I will have you know I have free will. I don’t have to narrate your story. I choose to because you are a new player in this field and I want to know more of your story and reason for being here. But I can leave you to your own doings anytime I wish.
JAKE [whispering, desperate]: Please don’t. I . . . I need your help here. You said you were taking me somewhere.
NARRATOR: That’s not true. The train is taking you to this specific destination. I merely told you to get on said train.
JAKE: [whispering]: Okay, but you had a reason, right?
JAKE [whispering]: So where are we going?
NARRATOR: We’re not going anywhere. I am an incorporeal being narrating this tale and have no physical location per se in this universe. You however . . .
JAKE [whispering]: Okay, fine. Where am I going?
NARRATOR: You’ll see.
JAKE: [whispering]: Dammit.
NARRATOR: You may disembark at the next station.
JAKE: Thank you for letting me into your home, and on the wonderful Red Line. [Quietly] God, this place is weird.
NARRATOR: Live here for a while. You’ll find it has its charm, its own unique ways, and a joie de vivre you won’t find elsewhere.
JAKE: Sure. I’ll take your word for it.
STRANGER: Did you say something, pal?
JAKE: No, sorry. Don’t mind me. Just talking to myself. [Quietly] Which way am I going?
NARRATOR: Exit the station and I’ll direct you.
[Going down stairs]
NARRATOR: Go right along this street.
JAKE: No fancy street name to give me?
NARRATOR: I could, but you haven’t earned the right. You’ve shown little else but disdain for the predicament you are in here, so I will dispense with the colorful details and keep very specifically on point.
JAKE [sheepish]: Okay. I’m sorry. It’s been . . . A really long day or couple of days . . . or week. I don’t know how long it’s been since I had a chance to rest and sleep. Guess it’s making me irritable.
NARRATOR: Do you know why you are here?
JAKE: Well, I’m a time traveler of sorts, and normally I’m pretty good at going through doors and getting to where I want to go. At one point I could even create my own doors to where I needed to get to. But then I let my concentration drop, and now I’m just wandering aimlessly through time, hoping I’ll get back at some point.
NARRATOR: To this Ostium?
JAKE: Yes. And back to Monica.
NARRATOR: Someone you care for.
NARRATOR: Interesting. One could describe Greater Boston as a city of people and the relationships between those people. Perhaps you have been brought here because this Monica might be here too.
JAKE: I suppose it’s possible. She might be looking for me. Trying to find me.
NARRATOR: There are lots of people here on a similar quest: in search of one they care for.
JAKE: Isn’t that true of every city? Every town for that matter?
NARRATOR: Perhaps. But more so here. And the Red Line is part of the fabric that holds it all together.
JAKE: If you say so.
NARRATOR: I do. Take the next right, then a left.
JAKE: What about you? Do you have a story? Do you even have a name? Were you once . . . Living?
NARRATOR: Yes is the answer to all those questions. I will give you further details soon. And my name is Leon. Leon Stamatis. Take another left.
JAKE: Nice to meet you, Leon. Wherever you might be. I’m Jake.
NARRATOR: I know you are Jake Fisher. I was granted that detail at least before you made your entrance into this world. And I am everywhere and in everything.
NARRATOR: Take the next right, then follow the road along until you reach it.
JAKE: Reach what.
NARRATOR: You’ll see.
JAKE [excited]: Holy shit. This is where you wanted to bring me? Do I get to go on any rides?
NARRATOR: Just one.
JAKE [hopeful]: Is it the roller coaster? Please be the roller coaster? I haven’t done anything like this in forever!
NARRATOR: It is.
JAKE: Sweet. Do I need to get a special token, or can I just pay the attendant?
NARRATOR: You can pay the attendant. It will cost you a dollar.
JAKE: Which I do happen to have, randomly enough. I swear that wasn’t in my pocket earlier. Maybe left over from the tip I gave that pizza delivery woman.
NARRATOR: Cool story bro.
JAKE: Here ya go. It’s just me. Thanks.
NARRATOR: Select the car at the very front of the line.
JAKE: I was planning to. Not many people riding the roller coaster it seems.
NARRATOR: There are reasons which I shall explain shortly.
JAKE: This is going to be such fun.
[Roller coaster sounds]
NARRATOR: I died on this roller coaster.
JAKE [shock]: What! Are you fucking serious?
NARRATOR: Yes. It’s what began this whole tale here in Greater Boston. I knew it was coming and I accepted my fate.
JAKE: You knew you were going to die? And you just let it happen . . . Could you have stopped it in some way?
NARRATOR: I suppose. But that was never part of the plan. I had scheduled it. It was meant to happen. End of story.
JAKE: Plans can change man. Don’t you have friends? Family?
NARRATOR: I do. And their lives have been irrevocably changed with my passing.
JAKE: And that doesn’t make you feel . . . Well, like shit. For doing that to them?
NARRATOR: I . . . I never really considered it . . . Until it was too late. Until I was already dead. By then it was too late.
JAKE: You think!
NARRATOR: Right here is where it happened.
JAKE: And why the hell would you want to bring me here?
NARRATOR: I . . . I haven’t been back, since it happened.
JAKE: Well, obviously. How would you?
NARRATOR: No, I suppose not. But now I have the ability to. No one else wanted to come back here. Wanted to do this again. Until you showed up.
JAKE [sarcastic]: Glad I could help facilitate your trip down memory lane.
NARRATOR: Thank you. It is appreciated.
JAKE: I was being sarcastic.
NARRATOR: I know, but my statement still stands.
JAKE: Well, you sure took the fun out of riding a roller coaster. If I ever get the chance to do it again, I don’t know if I will or not. So what now?
NARRATOR: I don’t know. You did what I wanted. I have nothing more for you.
JAKE: Fine. Guess it’s time to move on. I’ll be looking for a door then. But first I need something from you.
NARRATOR: From. Me?
JAKE: Yeah. I need a trinket. A little symbol of this Greater Boston you speak so highly of. To take with me on my journey.
NARRATOR: For what purpose?
JAKE: It’s a long story and I don’t have the time.
NARRATOR: I thought you were a time traveler?
JAKE: Very funny. Any ideas?
NARRATOR: How about the item on the ground next to your right foot?
JAKE: What the hell is this?
NARRATOR: It’s a puzzle box with a special item inside. Crack the puzzle, get to the item. My brother made it.
JAKE: How did it get here?
NARRATOR: That’s a long story. And I don’t have the time. Will that suffice?
JAKE: Yeah. This’ll work fine. Thanks. Where’s the nearest door?
NARRATOR: Turn 90 degrees counter-clockwise. And look straight ahead.
JAKE: Thank you. I suppose it was a pleasure meeting you, Leon. See you in another life perhaps?
NARRATOR: Very unlikely. Safe travels Jake Fisher.
NARRATOR: And so exits one Jake Fisher from this world of Greater Boston and the Red Line, moving on to another . . . Or perhaps reaching his final destination of Ostium.