The Bradshaw Tapes #06: Jason Dante

Transcript of Rec#000438 21/08/15: I’ve been told by Adam that Jason Dante has the most experience dealing with the supernatural of anyone in our group. Still, I’ve been reluctant to go to him because he is a gleefully self-admitted murderer, and also kind of a prick. Dante is aware that I’ve been trying to learn more about the supernatural and is clearly prepared for me when I arrive to find him in the living room. He has taped several sheets of paper to the wall with crude drawings and charts he apparently hopes to explain to me. He encourages me to start recording before I even ask.

DANTE: Alright. I assume you’ve got everything you’re gonna get from the rest of the group, so you’re ready for a real education, huh? Well, where do you wanna start?

OCTOBER: Well… they say you’ve seen pretty much everything.

DANTE: That’s an exaggeration. I’ve got about two decades of history with the weird stuff, but if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that there’s always more weird stuff out there ready to come be a problem.

OCTOBER: I see. Well, why not start with whatever you consider the scariest thing you’ve seen in all that time.

DANTE: Right to the worst stuff, gotta like that. Okay. This was during the Secret Factions War. I was on a search and destr–

OCTOBER: Sorry, what war?

(He gestured to one of his drawings, which contained no information I found useful, but otherwise ignored the question.)

DANTE: Search and destroy mission. I was alone in these tunnels underneath Castle Nine. There were a dozen or so of us on the mission, but we’d split into groups of three and my two pals had been taken out just minutes after landing. Grenades or mines, I don’t remember. Explosives. But I still had to get in and take out the skeleton generators, so I was in these tunnels on my own.

There was a trap. The tunnel opened into this room and once I got in the door slammed shut behind me. These slots opened up in the walls and water started pouring in. This was bad enough, I was panicking, looking for a way out, so when a door at the far end started opening, I was relieved at first and tried to wade my way to it. Then I noticed a shape, big and grey and moving toward me. I have exactly enough time to realize it’s a dorsal fin and then I’m underwater.

It’s got my leg and it’s shaking me. I think my head hit the wall at one point. Even with my suit I’m in tremendous pain and dizzy. I must have been clawing at it, but it doesn’t care, it just keeps trying to kill me. Then one of my grenades goes off. To this day I don’t know if I did it on purpose, like I threw it on pure instinct while being thrashed, or if it just fell off and I was saved by a pure fluke. Either way, the boom did enough damage to the damned monster to make it let go of me. It might have been dead for all I know, but I didn’t take any chances, I clawed at that thing until I got fingers into its fucking brain and then clawed for a few minutes more.

I couldn’t walk. I floated on my back, breathing in what air was left at the top of the room. It was certainly the closest I’d come to dying at that point, though I’ve certainly come closer since. I was young. The only reason I didn’t bleed to death is the suit.

Obviously I didn’t get the generators. The other teams managed to pull together some semblance of a victory, though, so eventually they found me there. Got me to a medic.

OCTOBER: Holy fuck.

(Some silence.)

OCTOBER: That’s messed up, I admit. But it’s not really supernatural.

DANTE: How do you mean?

OCTOBER: Well, it just was a shark, right? I thought it was gonna be a monster of some kind. Or maybe you had a near death experience or got saved by a ghost or something.

DANTE: “Just” a shark? That’s mundane to you?

OCTOBER: No, you know what I mean. Sharks are part of the natural world. Things like ghosts aren’t.

DANTE: God, you’re obsessed with ghosts. I’ve seen about a dozen ghosts at this point. I’ve only seen one shark.

OCTOBER: Well let’s shift focus to the ghosts. What are ghosts?

DANTE: In my experience? Jerks.

OCTOBER: But physically what are they?

(Another moment of silence, Dante closed his eyes for a bit.)

DANTE: They’re the spirits of dead people or something like that, aren’t they?

OCTOBER: So you believe in the soul, then? In the persistence of a person’s self after death?

DANTE: Well, I’ve seen ghosts, so if that’s what they are then yes. And if it isn’t that, it’s something like it.

OCTOBER: Hmm. And have you communicated with someone who has passed?

DANTE: I kicked one of them in the neck.

OCTOBER: The ghost had a neck?

DANTE: Not for long.

OCTOBER: But have you spoken to any of them?

DANTE: A couple. The one in my apartment that time. He hated me. The conversations were mostly vitriol now that I think about it. From both directions.

I sent a message to some kind of barbershop quartet ghosts and heard them talking, but I never spoke to them face to face.

OCTOBER: But you’d say they were conscious entities? Not just echoes of their lives or whatever?

DANTE: I don’t know their lives.

OCTOBER: Are you being difficult on purpose?

DANTE: Probably. Making you earn your answers, at least.

But in any case, I don’t know anything about the nature of ghosts. I just know they’ve pissed me off. And I know that if they are the spirits of the dead, they could hardly be called “supernatural” they’d have to be the most natural things around. They’d presumably be as old as humanity minus at least one lifespan.

OCTOBER: I think of it like this. When I call something “paranormal” or “supernatural” I’m not comparing it to what is normal or natural, I’m comparing it to the current dominant view of what is normal or natural.

DANTE: Okay, fine. I figure the life I’ve lived has left me with a skewed perspective of what is normal or natural. But I’m no scientist. I haven’t exactly been taking readings as I go. I’ve spent my life just trying to survive and trying to kill the worst ones.

OCTOBER: And yet you still boldly exclaimed you were going to educate me?

DANTE: (An exasperated sigh.) Okay, I came on strong. It’s a survival mechanism I think. Posturing. You understand. I admit that I have never cared about understanding this stuff the way you do. My priority has been the fight.

But I can tell you what I know and what I’ve been through. It’ll be surface-level by your standards, but if you can accept that, you can sift through and see if there’s anything useful to you.

OCTOBER: Yeah, okay. Let’s go.

(Continued in next transcript)

Hey, Remember Dentists?

Here’s a thing about PDR: I hadn’t been to the dentist in the entire time I have had this site. Even if we count Contains2! Basically, I hadn’t been to see a dentist since at some point in my late teens. I’d estimate it as being about twenty-five years since the last time my teeth have been professionally cleaned.

There are plenty of reasons for it. Foremost is the money. Dentists are expensive and most of those twenty-five years were not times I had a lot of money. But even during my brief era of having cash, I didn’t go. I always took pretty good care of my teeth, I though, so was it needed? I’m generally nocturnal, so making dental appointments is annoying. Probably there was some fear of dental pain in play, but I don’t know. In any case, decades pass faster than we want them to.

A couple months ago one of my teeth broke in half. Basically, I couldn’t remain indifferent, it was time to go to a dentist. So last Friday I finally got in there for a checkup. The news wasn’t great. Five cavities and two teeth that need to be removed (including that broken one, of course). Sure, it’s 25 years worth of dental problems all at once, but it still feels like a lot. It definitely made me doubt that I was actually taking good care of my teeth in all that time.

But yesterday I had my first dental cleaning in all that time. This time it felt like I got a better response. The hygienist tells me that my teeth actually did not have as much buildup as would be expected in all that time. Sure, still five cavities and two teeth that need to come out (scheduled for the 31st), but hey, at least those hole-ridden teeth don’t have a lot of buildup.

Let’s just hope that the money lasts for a while…

How Polio Was Cured

At the exact mid-point of the Bronze Age, there was an island village called Priggidyprop. It was peaceful place and its people knew a lot about fishing and boats. One of those people was Mugsy. Mugsy liked crackers. When Mugsy was old enough to work, his parents told him that he either had to go […]

Firefly – PDR’s Final Thoughts

Okay, I watched the show and it was a good show. I can admit that. But the fact I remembered as much of it as I did meant that this was less of an interesting rewatch than the others I’ve done. Next time I’ll have to think of something I don’t remember as well. I could see delving into Lexx, but if my memory serves that one ran for several years. Maybe there’s some sci-fi cartoon that would fit the bill. Anyway, that’s for later.

The biggest appeal of Firefly is probably the setting. They’ve managed to create possibly the ideal Space Western setup. Obviously I, PDR, would prefer there be aliens, but I fully admit that aliens would have been an unnecessary complication here. I also just really love that the show gave us actual episodic plots. Sure, it had an ongoing story that advanced as it went one, but every episode gave us something complete. I’m glad to report that I think television is getting back onto that idea, but after a long time where that wasn’t a given, this show really did it well.

I still don’t like Mal. But I don’t think I’d still compare him to Venkman the way I did at the start. I never considered Venkman controlling. For all Mal talks about the importance of freedom and not having to answer to anyone, if anyone questions his orders he responds only with insults, threats, and violence. The guy doesn’t hate those in power, he just wants to be the one in power and the fact that he seems okay with limiting his power to a smaller space is the only thing keeping him from being a monster. Sure he has good qualities too, even if his bad qualities tend to surface more quickly. But he’s not a Venkman. You know how some shows that over-rely on drama will occasionally introduce some new character just to complicate things? That’s who Mal is. He’s his own one of those, inside his own body. He just has to whine any time things don’t go his way, just so we get to watch the hurt feelings of those around him.

But how do I answer the question I posed at the beginning. Would the show have been driven into the ground if it had kept going? I can’t know. I don’t have access to the alternate timeline where that happened. I still can’t help but think things would’ve gone sour, but it’s entirely a hunch. I have no proof. Still, in the unlikely event they ever make a sequel movie, I’d check it out.