The Bradshaw Tapes #04: Nineteen Snakes

Transcript of Rec#000436 21/08/15: This is a weird one. The entity, for lack of a better term, who has introduced itself as Nineteen Snakes is exactly that. I have personally witnessed the snakes working together as some kind of single gestalt organism, making this the first time I’ve been able to interview a being that meets every definition of “paranormal” that I’ve used to this point. Though the Snakes have no means of verbal communication, it turns out they are capable of understanding human speech and even writing in English, though it seems a cumbersome process for them. On the day of this recording I encountered Snakes as they lounged around the terrarium that Adam has set up on the top floor of the shop. At least twelve of the Nineteen Snakes were present for this interview, with the others free to come and go as they please.

Note that for this interview there is a delay between my questions and the answer, as Snakes wrote their replies on paper. I then read them aloud in my own voice on the recording, but have transcribed them here as being from Snakes directly.

OCTOBER: Do you understand what I’d like to do here? To talk to you? Interview?

SNAKES: “Yes.”

OCTOBER: And you’re fine with me recording it?

SNAKES: (taps same page) “Yes.”

OCTOBER: And just to show you are understanding, I’m going to get you to answer a negative question this time, okay? Are you five birds?

SNAKES: “No.”

OCTOBER: Thanks. (brief pause) So… it’s hard to know where to start. Do you have anything specific you want to say?

SNAKES: “Don’t know.”

OCTOBER: You are a single being, right?

SNAKES: “Yes.”

OCTOBER: All nineteen of you think with the same mind? All thirty-eight eyes give information to the same place?

SNAKES: “Yes.”

(A significant pause here while I think.)

OCTOBER: So, um, why did you show up here at the shop? That day on the roof? To join Adam’s team?

SNAKES: (A longer than usual pause, presumably they are thinking.) “I could use help.”

OCTOBER: Help, with what?

SNAKES: “Just life in general, like everybody.”

OCTOBER: I guess that makes sense. So, let’s get to know each other. Where do you come from?

SNAKES: “I grew up in a science lab.”

OCTOBER: A lab? Where was this?

SNAKES: “Don’t know.”

OCTOBER: What happened there?

SNAKES: “Escaped.”

OCTOBER: And did… did they… create you? Were you normal snakes and they bonded you? Something like that? Or were you born there?

SNAKES: “I don’t remember anything from before the lab.”

OCTOBER: But what about your time at the lab?

SNAKES: “Escaped, underlined.”

OCTOBER: Fair enough. When did you escape?

SNAKES: “It was the cold part of year.”

OCTOBER: Last winter, I guess? That checks out with a lot of the snake sightings around town. How did you stay safe during the cold?

SNAKES: “Hid.”

OCTOBER: Where?

SNAKES: (Writes, is apparently displeased with handwriting, crosses out answer, writes it again.) “Sewers.”

OCTOBER: That was probably smart. (momentary pause) I guess I don’t know enough about snakes to know if that was smart or not, but hey, you survived, right?

SNAKES: “Yes.”

OCTOBER: Is there a reason you chose the sewers over hiding in a building someplace?

SNAKES: “Afraid of people mostly.”

OCTOBER: But when the weather got better, you did start coming up. People have seen you. What were you up to?

SNAKES: “Watched people all over town.”

OCTOBER: To learn about us?

SNAKES: “Yes.”

OCTOBER: Did it make you less afraid?

SNAKES: “Don’t know.”

OCTOBER: Well then, did you see anything worthy of note?

SNAKES: “I saw you.”

OCTOBER: You did? I assumed I was always too late to the anomalous snake sightings to catch you. When did you see me?

SNAKES: “Haunted pet store.”

OCTOBER: That… The thing back in June? That was you?

SNAKES: “Yes.” (then) “No.”

OCTOBER: Yes and no? So, what, some of it was you and some of it wasn’t?

SNAKES: “Yes.”

OCTOBER: The, uh, the parts that weren’t you, what was it then?

SNAKES: “Don’t know.” (then) “Something weird.”

OCTOBER: Hmm. I guess the fact that you’re a paranormal entity of some kind doesn’t mean you have all the answers I want, do you?

SNAKES: “No.”

OCTOBER: (I am quiet for a while.) If anything, I guess your life so far probably makes you feel even more confused than mine does.

SNAKES: “Yes.” (then) “I could use help.”

OCTOBER: Alright then, Snakes. Thanks for the conversation. You came to us and joined this team to help, so I promise you this: we’ll help you. Adam has already given you a home here where you don’t need to be afraid of people. I’ll do what I can in investigating your past and seeing if we can make sense of your life too.

SNAKES: “Thank you.”

The Bradshaw Tapes #03: Clint Rojas

Transcript of Rec#000435 19/08/15: My interview with Clint Rojas was more impromptu than the others I’d recorded that day. He happened to come into the store to pick up a set of keys Dante had left for him just as Adam was turning in for the night. Clint was dressed in the cheap clothes I’d noticed he liked to wear as he did his “superhero” patrols, presumably so that if they were damaged it wouldn’t matter. He was carrying his helmet. I will have to do more research on types of helmet in the future, but I would describe it as a shiny metal (iron, perhaps?) bucket-shaped helmet that is intended to cover the whole face of the wearer, with a sort of T-shaped gap in the front for the eyes and mouth. Clint agreed to speak to me with some reticence.

OCTOBER: Is it okay if I record?

CLINT: What for?

OCTOBER: For, um, posterity I guess?

CLINT: But who’s going to listen to it? I don’t want my details on that internet site of yours.

OCTOBER: Oh, that’s fine. I just intend to keep it with my files, for my own future reference. I’m sort of an information hoarder, I guess. Especially when it comes to the paranormal.

CLINT: Y’know, I never cared for the attention your site brought to me. It would be easier to wage my mission against the city’s evil elements if they didn’t know all about… what I was doing all the time.

OCTOBER: If you didn’t want people to know you exist, maybe you shouldn’t have been lifting cars over your head in public. Gets attention.

Anyway, my site was only ever about aggregating the reports from newspapers and stuff. I never wrote anything that wasn’t already out there. Believe me, I know more about you than ever made it online.

CLINT: What do you mean? Like what?

OCTOBER: Well, it wouldn’t exactly prove my point that I can keep my secrets if I gave up all the information that easily. But since it’s about you, sure…

Over the past year you’ve gotten predictable. Your nightly “patrols” generally start over by the piers. Then you scale one of the taller buildings and make your way along the roofs to North Beach. If you haven’t found anything to deal with by then, you take off the helmet and walk back at street level, keeping an eye out. You mix it up from time to time, but that’s the basics.

CLINT: You followed me?

OCTOBER: Didn’t need to. I’ve seen you a couple times, but also I’ve spoken to other people who’ve seen you. Street Sentry sightings usually get some discussion online. You show up on the security cameras at the Worldful building most nights. I… well, I like to use their cams for research.

CLINT: What, you hack into them?

OCTOBER: Not important. The point I was making was that I can be trusted with a recording of this conversation. Right?

CLINT: Whatever. What was this about? The paranormal?

OCTOBER: Your helmet, I guess. It’s the source of your power, right?

(He is silent for almost twenty seconds.)

CLINT: Yeah. I guess it’s obvious. The helmet makes me strong. Fast. Agile. Even smarter, I think.

OCTOBER: How?

CLINT: No idea. I put it on and it’s like… it’s like something courses through my veins. Some kind of ice-cold energy. Charges me up. Clears my head. If I have a headache, when I put it on, it’s gone right away. I feel like I can take on the world.

OCTOBER: Could I try it?

CLINT: No. Oh, no. No.

OCTOBER: Why not?

(Another brief silence)

CLINT: Same reason I wouldn’t hand someone a loaded gun. I feel like it’s my job to keep an eye on this helmet. My duty to make sure it stays safe and nobody uses it for evil. No offence.

OCTOBER: Fair enough. I was just curious about the sensation. Anyway, what do you know about it’s… origins.

(This time he is silent for almost a full minute, while he paces the room.)

CLINT: I don’t know anything about it really. We found a box in the woods–

OCTOBER: We?

CLINT: I mean “I”… I… I found a box.

No, it was we. My brother and I. But leave him out of it. We were in the woods a few years back. We found a box. Looked like a treasure chest almost. No lock. Had a bunch of stuff in it, but the first thing I noticed was the helmet. I put it on right away… it was magic.

I knew immediately: this helmet was meant for me. Like it was given to me by God.

There was other stuff in there. My brother took a sword. One of those ones they have for fencing, I think. But then we heard something. Something big. We ran.

So… no, I don’t know the origin of the helmet.

OCTOBER: And your brother’s sword?

CLINT: Don’t know the origin of that either.

Anyway, I wondered: if God gave me the helmet, then why? What was my destiny that I needed the helmet for?

OCTOBER: And you became the Street Sentry.

CLINT: I didn’t come up with the name. That was you Internet people. But, yes, I decided that the biggest problem in the world is all the chaos and injustice, so a person with power should help with that. I started by helping out people in emergencies when I could.

OCTOBER: Like the fires and car crashes and stuff.

CLINT: There was a flood during that first year too. And I helped out during a blizzard too. Wearing the helmet, the weather doesn’t bother me as much, that’s another thing it does.

OCTOBER: Pretty good.

CLINT: Yeah. (Another moment of silence)

I didn’t want to make it about fighting. But there are bad people out there. It started with a street gang that called themselves the Downtown Demons. They were just wrecking up the town, you remember I assume. You grew up here. Then LeSauvage and her Syndicate goons noticed me.

These are people who are actively making the world worse for the innocent people who live in it, you know? I always thought, what kind of God would allow bad people like that to ruin lives, and it never make sense. If people do evil, they deserve punishment, but the universe had no interest in making sure they got it from what I saw.

But now I had this helmet from God? So, I had a mission. I can do my part to make it all make sense.

OCTOBER: By punishing the bad guys.

CLINT: Someone has to.

OCTOBER: It makes sense why you’re training with Dante. From what I’ve gathered he loves the idea of punishing the bad guys.

CLINT: He’s a bit more extreme than me.

OCTOBER: Doesn’t strike me as a “God” type either.

CLINT: Heh. The other day while we were training he said something about how he once knocked out a bunch of Syndicate guys by poisoning a batch of brownies at a funeral then robbed them all. So I said “Poisoned brownies? Is nothing sacred?” He said something like “Nope. Sacredness is just made-up bullshit humans pretend matters, like fashion trends and love.”

Dante can be scary, actually. But he’s super tough. While he’s on our side, I’ll learn a lot from him, I’m sure. For my mission.

OCTOBER: Yeah. Honestly, if Adam didn’t vouch for him, I don’t think I’d want to be in a building with him.

CLINT: Anyway, if you’re looking for information about the paranormal, seems like he’s the guy to ask.

OCTOBER: So I hear.

To the Beekeeper Chronicles

The Bradshaw Tapes #02: Adam Obianu

Transcript of Rec#000434 19/08/15: I spoke with Adam Obianu, the Beekeeper for whom Adam’s Extra-Fancy Honey Shop is named, as the evening approached, He was on the roof, tending to his plants and hive, and wearing the beekeeping suit that is the only thing I have ever seen him wear. Adam is a young man, though it is easy to forget it because he is large and often looks tired. When he smiles, though, you can tell that he is essentially a child.

OCTOBER: You don’t mind me recording you?

ADAM: Not at all.

OCTOBER: Thanks. I’ll start. Now, you know I’ve spent a few years now researching paranormal events around town. You’ve seen my site.

ADAM: Indeed, it is how I first learned of you.

OCTOBER: Exactly. You also made it clear that we have different definitions of what would be considered supernatural. What did you mean by that?

ADAM: Well, take as an example: what is it that you find “supernatural” about me?

OCTOBER: For one thing, you might remember that we met when you used a swarm of bees to get my attention,

ADAM: Technically that was not a swarm. Not important. But bees, though wonderful, are not supernatural. They are an ideal definition of the natural, if anything.

OCTOBER: Right, but your control over them is certainly out of the ordinary.

ADAM: We have had this discussion. I do not control them. I work with–

OCTOBER: Fine. Fine. I’m saying hat just being able to talk to the bees at all counts as supernatural.

ADAM: Ah. But to me, this is simply a skill I learned in childhood. No more supernatural than riding a bicycle or speaking Chinese.

OCTOBER: But it isn’t a spoken language, is it? I’ve seen you in action. You talk to them in your mind or something.

ADAM: Hmm. I suppose part of it happens in the mind, yes. But I do speak to them aloud, and quite often. My friend Isaac used to mock me, actually, saying I spoke to my bees more than necessary. That never seemed like such a bad thing to me. But talking with the hive is more than that. I watch their dances. They see my gestures. I could argue all communication, even that between “ordinary” humans contains non-verbal elements that could be described as being “in the mind” by some standards.

OCTOBER: So anyone could do it? Could I learn to speak to the bees?

ADAM: If you are interested? Certainly! It would not be easy. And it would take no small amount of time. It is easier to learn while you are a child, like most languages I believe. But think, if you did this, you could call yourself paranormal, by your own standards.

OCTOBER: Right. It occurs to me that you’re giving me the same kind of “magic is just things other people don’t know” spin that Myrtle did.

ADAM: Well, given that Myrtle is to be our expert on that particular topic, I am happy to be on her wavelength. Certainly my “paranormal abilities” as a beekeeper are merely the result of what I learned from my parents and my culture. And they all learned from their ancestors likewise.

OCTOBER: And what about your Beekeeper culture anyway? What’s the deal there? They’re in Africa, right?

ADAM: Yes. My family at least, as well as the majority I believe. But not exclusively. There are Beekeepers all over the world.

OCTOBER: Okay, but not all beekeepers are “Beekeepers” right? The workers over at Farmer Joe’s Honey Farm in Buttville are not from a lineage of magic Beekeepers, right?

ADAM: I do not know them specifically, but I–

OCTOBER: That wasn’t a real example, I was just–

ADAM: Well, whatever the case, my people derive our teachings from our ancestors, as I say. I should hope that anyone who has a chance to accumulate knowledge from those who preceded them is doing so. If those in Buttville refuse to learn, then they are essentially avoiding the potential for magic on purpose.

(We are momentarily distracted by the sound of a large truck coming down the road. Adam went to the side of the roof to check it out.)

ADAM: It is not for us.

OCTOBER: I don’t suppose it would ever be possible for me to visit your people in Africa someday? To see their techniques first-hand? Maybe learn things?

ADAM: I do not expect that even I would be welcomed there at the moment, if the fight we had here last month is any indication.

OCTOBER: Right. That. I suppose that must be hard for you. They… they were your family, I take it?

ADAM: What is it that motivates your interest in the paranormal anyhow?

OCTOBER: Change of topic accepted. Let’s see… I suppose it’s no secret. When I was a little girl I saw a ghost. At least I think it was a ghost. I guess I still do.

ADAM: Someone you knew?

OCTOBER: No, actually. It… It could have been a murder victim. Janice Wasselin. You can look her up. They made a movie about it a couple years back. But this was before that. She was just considered missing and I had probably seen her on the news or whatever, but then I saw her in these dreams I had.

She kept appearing to me, in this park. The same park where we met, actually, up in Sarahill. I had the dream a couple times, probably three or four, but in my memory now it seems like dozens. Eventually I went to the park in person, in the daytime, instead of walking home after school. I found Janice’s body.

ADAM: I am sorry. That must have been hard for a child.

OCTOBER: It was. My mother helped. She wanted to punish me for not coming right home, but she saw how bothered I was. I was an anxious kid even before all this. I’ve never had another dream like that, but the fact I had was public record. I mean, the little girl who plays basically me in the movie just happens upon the body, but I’m sure police reports somewhere mention what I said about the dreams. That was how I met Virgil.

ADAM: Virgil?

OCTOBER: He was a coroner back then. When I was teenager he reached out to me. He had seen, well, a lot of weird stuff during his career and was doing some kind of investigation of his own. Unofficial. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Magic Astronaut Hypothesis…

ADAM: No.

OCTOBER: Well it supposes that there are these people who have vast paranormal power and they secretly influence society. It’s a fringe belief. Comes from a book from the ’70s that nobody really takes seriously.

Anyway, the things Virgil had seen over the years had made him wonder if there might not be a speck of truth in it, and more, if there might not be a so-called Magic Astronaut here in Port Nadine. He wanted to see if I could help him. He thought maybe I had dream powers. But I didn’t.

Still, I was interested. I started working with him on his investigations. Kind of like an intern. I learned a lot from him.

ADAM: And where is Virgil now?

OCTOBER: Gone. We had a fight. It’s not important right now. He’s out East now, I think. Anyway, I don’t know that I ever bought into the Magic Astronaut side of things, but I did hope maybe I’d find some truth about my ghost dreams. Or at least make any kind of sense of the world.

ADAM: Understandable. You know, I have heard Jason Dante express similar beliefs about powerful wrongdoers who need to be fought. He did not mention the hypothesis by that name, but it sounds similar. And in any case, he has had a long and storied life dealing with the supernatural. You would do well to do a question session with him.

OCTOBER: Myrtle said the same thing.

ADAM: But, you know, we have common ground ourselves. I may not share your mission to specifically investigate the paranormal, but I have been, since childhood, a fan of solving mysteries.

OCTOBER: I think you mentioned that when we met.

ADAM: Well, now we are a team. We will work on our mysteries together. Maybe we can make sense of the world around us.

OCTOBER: Sure.

ADAM: So, would you actually be interested in learning the secrets of my Beekeeping?

OCTOBER: I’m already intending to study under Myrtle. Couldn’t hurt to go all in, right?

To the Beekeeper Chronicles

The Bradshaw Tapes #01: Myrtle Wiseacre

Transcript of Rec#000433 19/08/15: I spoke to Myrtle in the newly renovated kitchen of Adam’s Extra-Fancy Honey Shop. In the lead-up to the grand opening she has been working tirelessly. She agreed to let me record the conversation but refused to stop baking while we talked. In fact, she put me to work stirring some mixture of dry ingredients, though ultimately I don’t think I was much help. I started recording as I was explaining why I was questioning her.

OCTOBER: I’ve spent the last few years investigating the paranormal. All over town and even in other cities. Just trying to make sense of it all, you know? And now I’m here, with this weird group of people. I feel closer to understating than ever before, but I still don’t actually have a clue about anything. I was hoping you could help me understand.

MYRTLE: Understand what, exactly?

OCTOBER: The, uh, the supernatural I guess. You’re an expert on the supernatural and magic and stuff, right?

MYRTLE: Right, right. That’s what I’m here for, they tell me. Supernatural intel.

OCTOBER: You said you were part of some mystic group before?

MYRTLE: The Brazen Alchemists. We thought we were going to revolutionize the world.

OCTOBER: And that’s where you learned to do magic?

MYRTLE: That’s right.

OCTOBER: Could you show me some magic?

(At this point Myrtle picked up an egg and handed it to me to confirm it was a real and ordinary egg. I was satisfied, so she took it back and held it against the table, blew on it, and took away her hand. The egg remained standing upright.)

MYRTLE: Ta-da.

(After a moment she handed me the egg again tried to get me to replicate what she’d done. I had no success.)

OCTOBER: (laughter) Okay, I admit that I’m impressed, but this is just a magic trick, right? I was hoping for more.

MYRTLE: Well, if you have a match, I can do the one where I make the egg go into a bottle. Or if there’s a deck of cards around here. Or a mirror–

OCTOBER: No, but… I… I was hoping to learn about real magic, you know?

MYRTLE: This is about as real as any magic I know.

OCTOBER: But what about the supernatural? You know, actual physics-defying magic.

MYRTLE: I never said I could deny physics.

OCTOBER: But what about back in the rooftop fight? I saw you do something that made all the smoke go away.

MYRTLE: Right. Cleared the air. Didn’t defy physics to do it. Nothing I do defies physics, as evidenced by the fact I can do it.

OCTOBER: But you know what I mean, don’t you? How did you do do the smoke thing?

MYRTLE: Just the right tools. I had a bag of audokeen powder on hand and I know a few tricks with that stuff.

OCTOBER: What’s audokeen powder?

MYRTLE: Just some kind of powder. Reacts to sound and air and stuff. If you’re asking what it actually is, I don’t know. I know how to work with it, but I wouldn’t know how to make it any more than I’d know how make a mirror from scratch. I just buy the audokeen from an occult supplier I met back in the day.

OCTOBER: So you’re the supernatural expert of this outfit and you don’t believe in magic?

MYRTLE: I fully believe in magic, I just seem to think it’s a different thing than you do. Magic is just tricks. One person knows how to do a thing another person doesn’t know, and that other person calls it magic. I spent my youth learning little tricks like that. Especially the ones that involve rare materials, because then even less people know them so it looks even more magical.

OCTOBER: But what about the supernatural? Like ghosts and stuff? Don’t those disprove science in some way?

(Myrtle was silent for a moment, thinking, while she placed a cookie tray into the oven and set a timer.)

MYRTLE: Look. It sounds like you have some division in your thinking where something is either magic or science and I don’t understand that. I don’t know what you think science is, but it’s just the method we use to understand the universe. Somebody studied the universe, that’s science, and they learned that putting a match in the bottle means you can suck in an egg. The magic trick came from the science.

I was never the smartest member of the Alchemists. I was a decent researcher and I got a knack for picking up the tricks. I rarely made up tricks of my own, and I certainly never designed any of the tech we used, but I became pretty good at doing magic. And I still believe in science. Strongly.

You can’t “disprove science,” kid. And trying to do it is just doing more science. Science is just learning about how this dumb universe works.

I mean, I’ve seen shit that I don’t understand, stuff like it sounds like is what you’re looking for, but that doesn’t mean “science is fake” or whatever you’re trying to get at. It just means I don’t understand it yet, so someone else gets to trick me. If that’s what you’re calling supernatural, then by definition I don’t have any answers for you because I don’t understand it myself.

(Another moment of silence. I think I was staring at the bowl I was supposed to be stirring.)

OCTOBER: I guess that’s makes sense.

So, uh, what’s some of the stuff you’ve seen that you don’t understand?

MYRTLE: Oh, there’s too much to list it all. The universe is infinite and that’s too much room to understand most of it. I mean, those snakes upstairs. I have no idea what that’s about.

OCTOBER: Yeah, weird, right?

MYRTLE: And back in the Alchemists, there was a guy named Blake. Good guy. He had… powers.

OCTOBER: Powers?

MYRTLE: He could do this thing where he could understand any written language by running his fingers over it. Latin, Greek, secret codes, computer language. He don’t know a word of anything but English, but he can read anything that way. Obviously useful for a group like we were. None of us knew how he did it and neither did he really. He used to say a voice came to him when he was young and just told him how he could do it, and then he could.

OCTOBER: What happened to him?

MYRTLE: Still with the Alchemists last I heard.

OCTOBER: Oh, I assumed they’d disbanded or something. Why aren’t you still with them?

MYRTLE: Well, kid, that has nothing to do with the supernatural, so I don’t need to tell you about that today. No offence.

OCTOBER: That’s fair.

MYRTLE: Now, I don’t even know if I should say this, but…

OCTOBER: What?

MYRTLE: You know who has seen a lot of weird shit? Dante.

OCTOBER: Yeah. What’s his deal?

MYRTLE: Honestly, I don’t know him that well.

OCTOBER: He was the one who brought you onto our team though, right?

MYRTLE: He was, but still. I spent maybe a month with working with him a few years back. He needed my help with something. But I can tell, if you want stories, talk to him.

OCTOBER: Right.

MYRTLE: Anyway. Sorry if I’ve disillusioned you or anything like that.

OCTOBER: No, I guess this is what I’m trying to learn.

MYRTLE: Okay then. Tell you what: when the moving company gets my stuff here, you can look at some of my occult books and stuff. If you’re actually interested in learning about this stuff, it’ll give you a good grounding.

OCTOBER: I’d like that.

To the Beekeeper Chronicles