Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Tabletop Garden: The Great Molasses Flood. I’m Gregory Avery-Weir. And if you’re listening to this as a patron, thank you so very much. And if you’re not, he should know that you can subscribe to my patreon at patreon.com/GregoryAveryWeir and listen to the finale right now. So consider doing that with the extra bonus that you’ll be able to very soon listen to the post mortem on this.
I think that the post mortem on ego driver went really well. And I am planning on recording what’s sure to be at least an hour on my motivations behind designing the Great Molasses Flood, going through some of the actual stats for the adversary, and the extras and experts that were pulled in. And my thoughts on how it went and how it differed from how I planned it, which is… there are a lot of differences. So that should be interesting.
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For now, though, we’re in the home stretch. So welcome back to the Great Molasses Flood.
There’s a guy sitting at a table and Lorenzo and he recognize each other at the same time. This is indeed the guy that you chased down the street. And nearly immediately, Isaac… kind of fear flashes across his eyes. And he kind of looks around as if he’s not sure if if this is cool. So, Harmony, is there anything you have immediately?
So Isaac, the person we are meeting is the person that Lorenzo chased last night.
That’s that’s what seems to be going on. He’s He’s the only person in here that seems to be waiting for someone. And you can probably tell from their reactions that they’ve seen each other.
And this is perhaps a low level question, but is this Isaac Gonzales?
Okay. Just wanted to make sure.
You can see that I’m just sort of raising my hand trying to be placating. I’m just sort of like, “No, no, it’s all right. It’s all right.” Yeah, but, that’s what I’m doing.
This was the this is the employee that worked at the tank site.
That raised concerns early and everyone seems to think is some sort of rabble rouser or troublemaker.
About tank safety.
All right. Well, I will sit down. Has Isaac already gotten a coffee or…?
Yeah, he’s got a cup of coffee.
Hey, I heard you were a person who went to bed early.
Is this an attack?
Uh… I don’t…
I think i think i think the situation’s tense enough that you should be doing some sort of attack here.
I mean, I’m just curious what I guess their response will be like, I don’t know that. That’s my attack. I’m just genuinely curious… what they’ll say. But if you want me to, I can try and come up with an attack here.
So I think I think if you’re not applying mechanical pressure, his impulse is going to be to, to bolt or clam up or something like that.
All righty. I think this is gonna be a mind attack. And I have two possible… I guess three possible directions. I could… Actually, I think maybe I won’t boost initially.
This will be a unbolded attack.
And it is a mind attack. That is a four.
Okay, and is that on…? So this is just… You just greeted politely, basically? Like that was your general approach.
Remarked on his bedtime habits.
Chill. I’m… I haven’t said that yet. Let’s… we’ll save that.
Versus nerve, probably?
Sure, nerve is good.
Okay. Umm… hmm. I don’t think he has a good way to boost in this case. His skills don’t actually help with this. So we’ll say that hits! Did you have an edge?
I do have this favor with a lawyer that I could use as an edge if I were to take an approach that were to imply that he could be in some sort of legal difficulties.
Certainly sets a tone.
What does that sound like?
Oh, everybody’s making a terrible face. Maybe I’m not gonna do that. I don’t have an edge. That’s just an attack with no edge. I’m not going to bring lawyers into it. I can see that’s next level.
Alright, so you just kind of sit down, say hi. And he kind of looks at looks at the three of you. And he says, “Hey…” He says, “Are you…” What… how would he put this that’s not confrontational? He kind of laughs disarmingly. But not particularly… not with much guile at all. So he’s clearly like,”Heh, uh, do we… you and me have a misunderstanding last night, friend?” he’s saying to Lorenzo. And it is Lorenzo’s turn.?
Yeah, probably. Because if you’re… Yeah, I’m Lorenzo Caligari. We’re supposed to we’re supposed to have a chat.
Isaac Gonzalez. I mean, someone starts chasing you, you get spooked.
Well, I didn’t know who you were!
Do you want your attack to be kind of defusing the situation? Or do you want to like, let it stay awkward for a bit and have another thing you want to do here?
There’s so many things I want to do to the adversary. But I can’t because you keep throwing these these tiny creatures in the way! Okay, anyway.
The adversary is not stealthed, so you can go after the adversary directly if you want.
But no, no, it’s too early in the narrative for me to do… Well, when I say too early in the narrative, I say it’s… For me to do the thing that I’m thinking of doing, we’re not in a narrative position yet for it. So, so. So, so whale on the peons I must. Understand I say this with love, by the way. Just doing your job. Let’s see.
[softly, quoting the theme music] “Doin’ my job, doin’ my job…”
So this is basically… Okay, yeah, no, here we go. All right. The thing that I’d like to do here is I’m I’m going to try to convince him to cooperate with us. To talk to us about about, you know, tell us, you know, if he knows anything, that kind of deal. In part, I am sort of trying to defuse the situation, but it’s kind of I’m trying to also make him understand that he is going to be possibly helping the public good.
And then the way that I’m planning on doing that is to attempt to convince him of this. I’m going to be coming forward. And I’m saying that… “The fire department’s very concerned right now about some of these the structures in the area, and we heard you had some… what sounded like probably some very serious complaints. And we want to make sure everything’s all right, because I’ve been hearing a bunch of different things. And the thing is, I get the sense there’s something going on, and you probably hold the key to that, if what I’ve been hearing is anything to go by, you know?” So what I’m doing is I’m going to be… I’m convincing, I am extra convincing, which means I am boosted on a challenge to convince someone.
And this is a charm-based attack. I can use this as an edge on it, if that’s where we are with this. And I’m considering going ahead and… Even though I am boosting I’m considering burning something to make it a bold attack just for the sake of whittling him down.
What was the number again? Because I think you might be good.
Because the number is going to be… by itself the number is going to be six with an edge.
Okay, you’re you’re good. So don’t you don’t need to burn anything.
And his his remaining skill is responsibility, which is not a thing he can use to boost to defend against this, this attack.
So he sort of… he nods and listens and and he is off the board because you have won him over.
And he he says “Yeah, sit down, get get yourself some coffee. I’ll, I’ll tell you. So… So here’s the thing, when I was running last night… I have trouble sleeping. I keep thinking about… That tank isn’t safe. All right? You know, when they got the permits for that thing, they… they’re… The permits referred to the foundation. They didn’t have to run the tank by the city because it wasn’t considered a building. All they did was get permission to build the foundation for it. Plans are signed off on but that thing’s thinner than any tank I’ve seen that size. And it keeps shedding pieces of metal and to tell you the truth…. You’re not going to tell anyone about this, right?
No, you know, we actually went by the site. So we’ve got an excuse if need be. We can say this is just stuff we noticed.
Yeah, well, when my sleep gets especially bad, sometimes I run on down there. And there’s a valve you can use to let out a little bit of the, of the molasses into the harbor. And I just, you know, try to get a little bit of the pressure off. And I mean, could get in some serious trouble for that. Right? Because that’s that’s money flowing out to the ocean. But…
How much would you say is flowing out into the ocean, like per minute?
Not enough to really make a difference, I guess. But it makes me feel a little better. I used to sometimes sleep under the tank just to try and you know, have a little extra time to warn people about it.
How quick do they notice that the valve is open?
Oh, I don’t think they’ve noticed that I’ve that I’ve let any out. I mean, it’s not much that I’m that I’m doing so… I open it a bit, close it again.
Can you think of any ways to increase that volume?
I mean, not long term. I… Without breaking the tank, I don’t know that you can… You can’t drain it any faster than it’s supposed to be. And they’d definitely notice if it were flowing out at the rate that it takes to fill a freight car. But I couldn’t… I couldn’t take the pressure of working there anymore. Just just knowing that I’d be partially responsible for it. I quit. I was going to join the… going to join the military, help out overseas. But this guy came and talked to me about it. I guess in government? Real weird dude. He said that I should stick around, that he didn’t want to see me going anywhere. So I’ve got a job at the docks pretty nearby.
Mr. Gonzalez… Isaac… Are we on a first name basis? What do you do… what do people do with molasses? Like, what’s it used for?
Oh! They distill it into industrial alcohol. So a lot of the explosives and weapons and, you know, the propellant in the bullets, the bombs that they’re throwing… I don’t know exactly how it works. I’m just… You know, I handle the hardware.
So it’s… dirty rum.
Yeah, that molasses there gets distilled into alcohol and turned into weapons for the war.
I gotcha. And, did you happen to catch the name of the brave government person who told you not to join the military?
I think this, this is an attack.
And it is your turn.
You’re attacking the mystery here, the the investigation.
Oh, hmm. Is now the time to hit networked, then?
It’s got networked and timelined. But you could certainly use timelined because it’s a sort of extending that timeline back.
Oh, okay. Then yes, I’ll use timelined with an edge… So I think this is a… Regrettably, I think this is a charm attack to… Actually, I think it’s a mind attack. I’m trying to get more information trying to kind of suss out what’s going on. So I think my edge… I should have taken a resource of experience with the military, but I did not. Also, we could only have two resources. So… Oh, well.
If you haven’t taken one for the scene…
…you could pull on it as your common resource.
I didn’t take one for last scene either. I’m going to take experience with the military as a resource.
Okay. And you’re targeting timelined?
Okay. So the adversary cannot take an affliction to block the stress from that. So you chat with him and he says, “Boy, I can’t remember his name. Real strange guy, always wore a suit. You know, was wearing a weird suit. Name was R something. First and last name.”
“Yeah, yeah, that was it.” And he describes it and, you know, you’re experienced with military here. Yeah, this this is not this is not a military man. Kind of the way he was talking and everything. Isaac says, “Seemed he was real concerned. He was real, real emphatic that I stick with a job nearby. Like in the same neighborhood around the tank. And I mean, all I know is loading, unloading, maintenance. So got a job nearby, but…”
Well, that’s convenient.
Yeah, I feel like I’ve seen that guy around some lately. I don’t know; maybe he’s working with the Navy. Maybe he’s related to the to the munitions effort, but…
De seems to be getting around.
Yeah, I’d actually be kind of wary of that fella. He’s… I can’t say too much right now. But he’s… From what I understand, he’s kind of a person of interest with some things going going on right now.
Oh, you think he’s… what? Like a like a spy? Maybe an anarchist even?
Let’s not go wild…
We’re not entirely sure. But I would take a second and third glance at any advice that fella gives you.
“All right. Huh.” And you you chat with him a little more about about the specific circumstances. And you’re, you get the distinct impression… So, stuff that you know that this that Reagan has done is… You know that he’s somehow been been chatting with, he was chatting with some firefighters. And you know that that… Probably you realize that now that you’re kind of thinking about where people are… Lorenzo, you realize that that Lahey talking to that guy probably meant that Lahey ended up in a different place. Ended up getting held back and probably wasn’t where he normally would be when the disaster happened. And likewise, you know, you know, that, kind of… Gonzales was… If the Cut Up Man convinced Gonzalez not to enlist, then that means that Gonzales would have been overseas when the disaster happened. Instead, presumably he was in the disaster area. And Gonzales seems to be the one who knows a lot of the like a lot of the dirty secrets that tie everything together on how this happened.
So, I think at this point, we’re going to see a crisis attack from the investigation. So you’re welcome to… Before I do that, is there anything else you want to get out of Gonzales immediately? At this meeting? He’s He’s, once you once you, he seems to have relaxed and it’s like, “Yeah, we can… we can… I’ll tell you whatever else you need if you think of something.” The adversary’s still networked.
I feel like I kind of want to figure out a way to encourage him to be to be out of town. Or out of the area. When this thing that’s coming is coming, because clearly they want him here, which which means we don’t.
Well, I was going to agree. Yeah, I would like to implant the idea of his strike in him. But that might be an attack. I don’t know.
Okay, then let’s say that immediately, when you talk to him like that, he’s he’s resistant to both. He, when you’re talking about, you know, not being in the area, he says, “I don’t… I don’t know if I could live myself something happened and I wasn’t there to help, honestly. And And, look, I I’m pretty willing to give management a hard time about safety and stuff, but a strike… I mean, that’s, that’s pretty extreme.”
It’s really some of the most American things that you can do, is strike. That’s what my grandpa Uncle Sam used to say.
The Uncle Sam that’s currently in charge of the country tends to think of strikes as about the same as throwing bombs or invading France, so…
Naturally, because, you know, that’s how they want you to think. But you’re your own man, Isaac.
Well, I’ll, I’ll think it over I guess.
But screw your courage to the sticking place and we’ll not fail!
Is that a… is that a poem?
It’s Lady Macbeth. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. It just came out.
He says, “Look, I should I should get to work. But But I’ll I’ll think about it and I’ll let you know if I think of anything else.”
Thanks. Much appreciated.
“I’m headed to the north end.” And he’s he’s walking basically the same route that you would take to get back to the, to the neighborhood. And when you get there, assuming that you’re not heading elsewhere, you can see that the guards and support around the tank has increased even further.
There are people in Navy uniforms standing outside and like looking over the tank. And you can tell that like the area’s kind of been cleaned up a little bit. Some of the remaining anarchist posters have been torn down. And the kids that’re normally playing all around? There aren’t kids playing in this area. And you can you can see kind of some some annoyed looking kids kicking dirt over in the playground, and it seems like maybe they’ve clamped down on the amount of like general neighborhood traffic that can go on. So, this is a crisis attack boosted with nationalism.
Speaking of Uncle Sam.
Oh, no. Oof.
and I think this is a mind attack, as this is sort of trying to limit your options. And it’s using using a an edge of field work because this is using the the previous increase in guards to support this, this effort. So that is a six with an edge as a crisis attack. So y’all will get to decide how you attempt to defend against this, what defense you want to use and what you do in response to this neighborhood kind of shifting a little more, a little more police statey than it was.
Okay, so, in my case, if I’m able to stop by my room briefly… I’m gonna change my outfit. So I’m going to boost my nerve with my body using my bendy gender quirk and just sort of… Not, like, nothing drastic. But my… I am no longer… I don’t look like a soldier anymore. I don’t look quite like a sailor. Like it’s hard to completely get rid of like, the “Why is the land stop moving the way it’s supposed to move?” in my gait. But I’m definitely sort of costuming here to sort of deflect the eye.
So with bendy gender, are you actually like looking more femme?
You’re kind of looking a little bit more like a dandy or are you actually… is this… Are you going into more crossdressing territory or non binary territory?
Interesting. I was thinking non binary. Sort of less… Like, I think that when on land, and out and about, Sam adopts a fairly standard but subdued masculinity like, “Okay, this is how men on land who are not doing the things we do at sea, right? I’m in this masculine world, I need to be a black man, but not too loudly a black man. Either… on either axis of those and sort of performing the the appropriate, subdued gender, but also very clearly masculine, like, you know?” And so I think this is a softening of that. Of like…
Hell, maybe he shaves. I don’t know. I’d sort of… Like, I hadn’t really thought about that as a thing, but that’s because I don’t grow facial hair, maybe. But yeah, like, he takes a moment and, well, longer than that. A minute and and shaves and changes to something that’s like, way more civilian than he was wearing before. Something where you don’t immediately… where, well, I will say, the police might still fairly quickly go Oh, that’s a sailor. But like a regular civilian might not immediately.
And so a little more femme. A little less a little less hard. A little more, a little less traditionally masculine. Yeah, that boosts his nerve.
Also: feels comfortable.
It’s not it’s not really… I mean, it’s a quirk, but I’m introducing it. I’m not, you know…
Or highlighting it I guess. So yeah.
Is this attack to be noticed?
It’s a crisis attack. So it’s this this is a situation that you will need to react to in in some way.
But I can’t boost it with my trait, is that true? Innocuous?
Let’s see. What is innocuous… “Always boosted on challenges to avoid notice.” So yeah, we’ve been playing with always boosted can be used for defense. So if if the way you respond to this is just by like, sneaking? And trying to… I guess, I guess I’d like to hear, like, what you’re doing with that. Like, what’s the active thing you do…?
…to make use of that innocuousness?
um, I guess what harmony would do would be to not dress like she normally does for anarchist-like purposes, but more like in traditional working femme clothes like she’s going to go work. Is there a molasses factory? I don’t know.
That would be, that would be further away. But there’s there’s all sorts of, yeah, other other workshops and stuff around here.
Yeah, like she’s gonna go do something like that. So I guess, you know, she has lots of changes of clothes that she could choose from in order to do that. And then just look like everybody else walking around,
And are you like scoping out the area? What are you doing immediately with this, with this innocuousness?
Um, yeah, I definitely… I mean, I have a few things that would be particularly interested in, like, are these Pinkertons? Or are they some other group who is guarding the tank? And what about… if we’re, I guess we’ve brought them up before so it’s okay to mention children. Like, are the children still doing their thing? Are they taking molasses away? Like, I’m curious about that, too.
Yeah, so kind of in with your, with your state of being hard to notice, you’re seeing that the guard seemed to be a combination of naval… I don’t know if Naval Intelligence was a thing at this time. But like the people who protect naval ports, which is you know, you know from being around this area is unusual. There’s training stuff that goes on in this in this region, but it’s not supposed to be… Especially with the war coming to an end, like, protecting a munitions munitions stuff infrastructure at this point is a little weird. And there are also Pinkertons around and they are they are genuine Pinkertons. Your your various anarchist friends are are happy to tell you that. They’re not in large numbers. Like you’re not looking at like an actual strike force like the Pinkertons are probably infamous for among your circles. But there there are two guys in suits that clearly are armed that are, like, looking for bombs and and passing through bars and inspecting workshops and so on as if they’re expecting a full on anarchist attack. And Lorenzo, how are you dealing with this?
You’re right outside the gate.
at the firehouse.
Seeing this increased presence, and knowing what it’s here for, Lorenzo is going to go pretty much on watch. He actually is going to go a little bit into military mode…
…on this. Because it’s like, okay, that’s all right, I can be on guard. As this is coming, going to be coming up toward ready for anything time. And so I want to highlight my quirk of seeing the elephant. It’s like this, this is not going to be a big deal. Because if, if a wall gets put in front of me on this, we’re going to knock it down.
Yeah, you’ve seen worse than this.
And so I’m using that to boost my nerve.
Which brings it up to an eight.
All right, so you all take wear as appropriate on those defenses, but it otherwise doesn’t make progress against you. And I think I’ll say at this point, like things are, things are clearly like, more acute than you remember them being the first time through. Like, this this is definitely like… Your actions have changed the circumstances and just stuff is feeling pretty volatile in the neighborhood now. Harmony, your turn is up first on more more direct action.
Harmony is going to… I’m trying to think of what the right walking verb for what she would do would be. I think sort of… stump? Harmony is gonna stump over to the dock, to where the dock workers are hanging out, and just say, “You know, bosses don’t care about what us working folks are doing. We’re the ones whose blood, sweat, and tears are going into this and where’s ours? That’s what I want to know.” And what I am trying to do is get this general strike up on its… up on its feet.
And this is, I mean, I think this is a mind attack, because I’m trying to use my boost of literally organizing, it’s logistics and organizing is my skill. And I think I could potentially have the edge of Enigma because I do know something that they all don’t know, in that, it would, you know…
But Enigma has to be something they want to know.
Oh, that’s true. Well, I mean, hmm. Do they want to know about, like, workers rights? Because I do know about that. And, okay, let’s see what else I got. Um…
So so you’re kind of using you’re using the playbook of: “this is how you start a strike” rather than like, depending on your charisma. And that’s why it’s mind?
Yeah, I am literally a labor organizer. So I’m definitely trying to lay down some logical rational arguments here, not just being cute.
I could see… I’m trying to think if you have done… I don’t think you’ve done research for this lately.
What resources do you have?
Well, I have favo– oh, I could get a resource, though.
You can also reveal secrets to do a boosted attack with an edge. Although I’m not sure from what I know, I think I I have hints of what your secret is. And that might not be… that might not play here.
I’m not sure this would be the right time for my secret. I can… I do have the trait of resourceful. So I could get something rare. Or I could just use my common resource, which I haven’t gotten yet, either. I mean, a common resource would ma-
Oh, you still got that favor from a lawyer, right?
I mean, the current…
…obstacle to them striking is that there’s Pinkertons, and navy, and so on. They’re like, “What do we… Like, these people can crack down on us.”
Lawyers! Oh, yeah, I’ll use my favor with a lawyer as an edge.
Okay. What is that attack numerically?
It’s an eight.
Eight. Okay, that’s not a thing I can block. So… not a general strike. But certainly got the dockworkers so far. What… What are you… What’s the… What are the conditions of this strike? Like, are you trying to get them to strike through the… for a week? Because that’s a that’s a long, long strike on short notice.
Yeah, I’m wanting…
And what are they demanding?
I want them to plan the strike not start right this minute.
Because they’ve got to get everybody involved. This is the perfect timing. Because if we started the strike in like, three days, that should be just right. Right? For them to…
Prevent the molasses unloading? And what are… is it just general working conditions and stuff? Or do you have a specific like grievance that’s tied to the impending disaster?
Yeah, I think… I think it definitely… I mean, general working conditions, yes. But also safety. Like they are being subjected to unsafe working conditions, and they’re not going to take it anymore.
All right, you deal some stress against the investigation, and then it’s going to take the affliction unstable.
You and me both, investigation.
And I am going to insert an expert.
I’m sure they’ll be very friendly.
Why? Why are you sure of this?
So you’re walking away from the docks, Harmony. And as you do so, you’re struck by a mural. That’s…
Do you mean I’m physically struck, or like…
There’s a painting, like a painting on a brick wall that you would swear you should have noticed, because you think you walked this way to get to the docks, and there’s no way there was enough time to paint this. But it is on the wall of the carpenter’s shop where they make a lot of framing for houses and just general like construction and scaffolding and so on. There’s this wall that’s been pasted with just like newsprint all over it just in a in a weird collage. And there are letters scattered all over it. There are things like “USA” and “flag”, and sort of in the center of this mural is a human figure that’s made up of scraps and bits of newsprint pasted against the wall.
And you’re kind of… Like, it catches your eye as being very, very dramatic. And also, probably not something… You’ve probably never seen art like this. Unless you’re like, really like schooled in European art trends at the moment. Like you’ve never seen a picture like this before. It’s just dramatically different in a way that that is… You’re like: A, this is clearly someone trying to do art and B, this doesn’t look like art. And in that moment, as you’re either defending your character, you might land on one side of that or the other.
But as you’re considering this, the man steps out of the wall, and he is a man with a suit that’s clearly… you can now see clearly is made up of newsprint. Lines of lines of text along the… what what should be fabric, but instead is just folded newsprint, and his face is just paper mache that shifts as as if it’s like flesh.
That is super cool.
And he says, “You are meaningless.” And slashes at you as if he’s like, slashing with his arm, doing a karate chop just in front of you. This is an attack on your vigor. Looking for dice as if that’s how attacks work in this game… no!
Speaking of reflexes…
Which dice is the diceless one?
It’s literally in the name? Rosette Diceless.
Do you have a d-infinity? Is that the diceless die?
This is attack boosted with Dada. And with an Edge of time knife.
And that is a six versus your vigor.
Coming in bold.
Yep. Super torn about which way to defend on this. Because I feel like I have a few options. I’ll go with this one. And y’all can tell me if you don’t like it. I can go the other route, which is probably a little more pedestrian. Harmony is… I’m introducing a quirk that Harmony lives very plainly and without a lot of extra things. Like she’s sort of non materialist. And I have the quirk… I wish I had chosen a different word for now because I’m worried I’m gonna mispronounce it. But I think it’s “ascetic”.
And I think with this situation, like being attacked partial… it’s against vigor. But it’s also against, like… to say that I’m meaningless. Like, yeah, she already accepts that it’s meaningless. Like that’s not, you know, that. That’s whatever for, for her. So she doesn’t, she’s not intimidated.
So vigor is made up of body and mind. So this could be like, that gives you the presence of mind of like, whereas someone else would be spooked by this. You like, the fact you’d kind of don’t consider that a taunt… that makes sense to me.
I mean, I do have the more traditional route, which is I do have some stamina, I could just… feel like… but I just felt… Because I felt like their attack was sort of more had that mental angle to it, you know, with the Dada.
There’s some… Yeah, there’s some metaphysics going on here.
And I just felt like this is an opportunity to asc… to highlight her asceticism. Asceti…
Yeah, I truly wish I had chosen a different word that I would not be struggling to pronounce. But here we are. And that gives me two wear on my vigor.
All right. And so… what does this… like, if we’re, if we’re seeing this with a camera, what does this look like? He’s, he’s now slashing at you with his hand in a way that like, it seems like there… For a moment, you can see just extended from his hand this like shimmer or crackle in the air of, of his, his recontextualization of you. What, what does you avoiding this attack look like?
It looks like kind of like the matrix, you know, with bullet vision, sort of… Actually a very the matrix bullet vision because it’s kind of that Keanu, like, “dude!”, energy, and also a dodge.
Okay, so you, like, step aside in this very, like, weir- almost almost balletic way?
Of just dancing around the swing?
Yes, in a way that suggests this is a this is a violent dance of both physicality and mental prowess.
Okay, so once you dodge out of the way and… He’s he’s pretty impassive about it. Like he’s almost… There’s almost kind of an amusement in his face. What What do you… Do you stay here? Do you run? Do you..?
Well, I’m not gonna run? I’m not I’m not fast. So it’s not ever my go to. I’m no I’m no Lorenzo.
Do you scream?
I kinda… I nar… I narrow my eyes and say, “I suspect that you are a rampant capitalist.” And I will… I mean, is this like an alley? Are there people around? or… How far away are Sam and Lorenzo? Like, what’s? What’s the situation? Because I don’t necessarily want to holler if it’s gonna accrue the cops. But…
I don’t know! Sam, Lorenzo. Were you were you hanging out near…?
There’s a thing I’m preparing to do that would be very helpful if I didn’t know this was going on right now.
Which is terrible of me to say.
I mean, I’m okay, I believe but if anybody wanted to be here, I would holler for you. But I’m not trying to attract attention either.
Well, then let’s, let’s cut away.
Let’s let you stay standing in that in that… that alley where you realize as this is, like, as this clarity is passing through you of recognizing that materiality isn’t all that important to you. There’s also just this this passing peaceful thought that this is the place where you sheltered from the molasses wave. And when the disaster happened, this is the exact spot that you were when the wave hit.
And you said that made me feel happy?
It’s just a peaceful thought that passes by as you’re as you’re dodging away.
Cool. I died here once.
And incidentally, I’m terribly sorry, I don’t mean to leave you in the lurch here.
I feel okay.
I’ve been burning to figure out a way to do this attack. And I think I’ve got it.
Because this involves revealing my secret. So, but we’re still in order to finally plot wise get it in, we’re gonna need to come back to you. But, so… I feel like it’s a little bit after sort of seeing the beginning of seeing Harmony going off and starting starting to rile up the dockworkers a little bit. And I’m just sort of sort of turning and looking for somewhere to talk to Sam, that might be a little more private. As we’re just sort of looking around. Maybe we duck into some sort of cafe, nook, something somewhere somewhere that I know of the area that we can, we can talk for a second
Go maybe out behind the block and tackle?
Yeah. Does that sound good?
Yeah, that works for me.
You’re kind of standing below this stained, beautiful stained glass window that the…
…the barkeep brought over from Ireland.
We can’t keep ending up in the exact spots where we die.
Oh, no, quick! Let’s get away from any graven images. No, I’m so so basically, as… I don’t want the stained glass mirror to overhear us! But, um… This is important.
Turns out that’s Ronald Reagan.
I know. Right? His trickle down plan to destroy this area.
Trickle down glass.
Yeah, he was talking about molasses. That’s the whole time.
[group laughter] Okay.
“Trickle down”! Okay. Sorry, I’m getting sleepy. Okay.
I can check that off my list as well. Okay, good.
So… Sorry. Oh, I’ll give it a second.
There’s no point! [more laughter] Okay.
So. I’m actually not sorry.
Alright, thank you, Jim.
So yeah, no, the…
You’re the best.
Thank you. Thank you so much. So you’ll see that Lorenzo has has this look about him that you probably recognize having been in the military. And you see where it’s this mode you go into, when you’re, you’re like, you’re feeling assaulted, and you’re… There’s an assault coming and that you you’re that you are going to have to do whatever it takes to survive.
In particular, Lorenzo has this, having, having having spent a good, good share of time in trenches. And so he is sort of coming around, just getting sort of looking looking very serious as he’s coming around. “Okay. Okay.”
You have a plan?
“Listen.” And I just sort of as we’re sort of glancing back: “She’s really doing this. She’s going to the docs, and we got to do something. Yeah, it’s not good. It’s not good. But…”
It’s gonna be a mess.
These are dire circum… these are DIRE circumstances.
Yep. Things are moving real fast.
I think we’re gonna have to sabotage that that that tap. You know that…
The one going into the ocean?
Yeah. Yeah. So that it’s gonna have the molasses coming out with a bit better rate.
And looks like an accident so that there’s an excuse for it. Unfortunately, I know a guy.
Well, yeah, who can do it. Well, it’s unfortunate for me. It’s my brother, Sal.
Is he an, anarchist, or just…?
Turns out. He, uh…
Wow. That’s rough.
He kind of helps get things that people can’t normally get. And he is good at breaking things up and making it look like an accident. And I wanted very little to do with him. I wanted nothing to do with him. Ma and Pop wanted absolutely nothing to do with him.
Because after after… Well, after the police station. But we might be able to…
…get his assistance on this. And if anybody can do that, and pull off the timing right, it’s him.
It’d be him. Yeah. I mean…
Is this like, you give him a hug and a and a cigar, and he does it? Like, you know? If you haven’t talked to him in a while.
No. And actually, I don’t know where he is. But Harmony does.
And so I can get a message to him. It’s very simple. It’s where there’s a there’s a code we used as kids that we kind of still kept using. And she can see to it that it’s delivered to the right place.
I mean, I think that’s… that sounds… sounds good, though. Like, if we want it to look like an accident, if it… especially if he can make it so it’s not easily fixed. You know, like it’s enough damage that it’ll take them some time to repair.
Yeah. And he’s an expert at this kind of thing.
For better or worse, yeah.
So I’m gonna…
I’m in. You need anything from me?
Well, I kind of was… when… I was kind of hoping you’d talk me out of it. But…
Oh. Well, bad news.
Yeah, looks like. All right. I’ll write the note and try to figure… There actually is a is a place I might be able to put it where if if we, if we need to, we can… I think I know where to put it to get in touch with him where… for him to look at, so… Might be able to just take care of it. But you know, at least… if we need to talk to him directly then… then Harmony can arrange that for us.
And I mean, for all we know he’s living with her in that house with all those people.
Maybe, I don’t know.
So we could… I know where the house is if nothing else. So…
But Harmony will… you know.
“Worse comes to worse, yeah, but…” Okay. And Lorenzo will take out a little… I’m kind of figure he’s got like a notepad where, you know, sometimes you need to write down an address or something or, you know, for… In working as a fireman…
Ye olde PDA.
Ye olde 1919 era PDA, and…
The actual palm in Palm Pilot.
Little stubby pencil. And he will write a note to his brother Salvador. Basically, that will… in code that will kind of just say, you know, just say, in effect: “We need you. By this tap. In this pla- Take care of this tap in this place. Dire import.”
And now both of you could look around and say, “Gee, where is good old Harmony?”
Well, yeah, I mean, that’s and that’s pretty much because we, you know, it’s like, we wanna check on you first because…
We got this note!
…I gotta gotta get in touch with him. But that is… If I may, I’d like to use that as my attack, basically, the the revealing of the secret.
Yeah. So when you reveal a secret, it automatically succeeds. And it’s an unblockable edge. So, you have you have this note that you’ve, you’re ready to deliver. Everything’s lined up except the actual execution of that to have a an expert saboteur disable the tank in such a way that will make it unable to collapse. And so I think the investigation will take… It’ll take one point of stress and the affliction, sabotaged.
Does it still have networked? Or did that get used?
Yep. It’s got networked, unstable and sabotaged. And we are just about at the end. But before we conclude this conflict, let’s have another chat.
Does anyone have a topic they want to bring up?
Could we talk about queerness?
Yeah, I think that would be a, that would be a good, good thing to chat about, because we’ve seen some of the queerness sort of coming forth lately.
An alternate and maybe definitely related idea is playing identities or social categories that are not necessarily marginalized, but are complicated. Because I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that I’m playing someone from the military. I think that is a is a fraught area. Both me being, I don’t know, I’ll… anticolonialist, I guess, is actually probably the right way to put it, where I wish we did not have a military that does the things it does. Tangled with training, and all this sort of stuff. But also, like, I think some of the political roles we’re playing are things that it’s hard to kind of put ourselves in the in the feet of of what it would be to be in that era, etc, etc. So I think that also relates to queerness. And just l- well, I mean, not queerness, specifically, but us playing these parts. So…
When people say queer, they’re sort of… There are two different things that that they’re talking about. Like there’s the colloquial commonplace thing of like, you know, LGBTQAI. Right, like the folks who are on the gender or sexuality spectrum, something that is, quote, unquote, not normal. And then there’s also sort of the academic philosophical queerness, of questioning what is normal.
And this idea of like… I mean, I think very much in the story of we’re dealing with situations where people are assumed to be a certain way, and that there’s there is a right way or a or a normal way to be, and that to deviate… to be different from that is to deviate, is to, to be to be strange or unusual. And I think the the military definitely has, like that sort of academic queer theory, intrinsic to its nature, because it is like a circumstance of like, regimented violence, right? Its whole point is, “We want to be able to do violence in a way that is somehow controlled.” And that that sort of tension is is very much what a lot of I think a lot of queer theory tends to explore. That that sort of odd contradiction.
I think there is an interesting set of themes happening in this story. Because there is some of that queer theory type of queerness. You know, like, the binaries and the questioning of binaries that, like, even about time, right, like that things happened, or didn’t happen, or will happen. Like, I think there’s an interesting tension in all of that. And, and then I guess, part of it is from playing in this particular historical period, when you’re trying to portray an a queer identity or a gendered identity, or a racialized identity. I mean, all of these different identities have that different level, when you look at it from a historical perspective too. The thing I was thinking about was the way all of this relates to Foucault’s idea of surveillance and the panopticon. Because we have the literal surveillance with the detectives and the people who are guarding the tank and watching the area and keeping an eye on us. And so I was kind of wondering, in what sense is there like a self-surveillance that’s happening? That mirrors maybe that kind of physical surveillance? I don’t know.
I mean, people talk about having the eyes of history on you. And we… our… your consequence that you’re trying to avoid in this conflict is…
“To be shamefully remembered by history.” I have it written and visible.
Yeah. So in a certain sense, I think your characters have in mind how they will be remembered. And that is definitely a self surveillance of “let’s make sure to do things that make us look good.”
And I think we’re all… It feels like we’re all trying to be… Our characters are aware of what normal behavior would look like. And the fact that we are not doing that. So that’s how we’re dressed, that’s like how we’re behaving and our interactions with other people of ranks and that we understand. So other fire folks, other, you know, other folks that are workers of a certain class where we expect a certain amount of solidarity or not, right?
Our characters are, perhaps, unusually even more aware than they would have already been, which was probably plenty given, given the folks, because we’re out of time. We’re out of place and time. But I think I will say I as a player, I think it’s tough for me to know what’s normal in this campaign in an interesting way. So part of it is the fact that it’s a podcast. And so I’m like, I’m more conscious of the things that I’m doing because it’s a podcast, and other people are gonna hear this. Yikes.
But there’s also just like, you know, just thinking about like, other role playing games… Let’s, let’s take D&D, let’s take classic fantasy, or let’s even take World of Darkness, that’s a modern setting, right? Norm, the norm is Lord of the Rings, or modern day, gritty world. And if… You can, like, track it to like what’s happening, you know, you can you can very clearly picture what that norm is. But what is the norm for a random black sailor? In 1918? Who is queer? And is passing just fine as not queer? Like, I have no idea. Right? Like, really? Really? I don’t know.
And so it’s an interesting… It’s an interesting thing where I don’t want to stereotype or make a ton of assumptions or like… You know, we have to modernize it. But I don’t know. It’s just, it’s just tough.
Yeah, I think that very much there is a sense that we’re trying to maintain some guise of normality. I know from the perspective of my character, he’s… There are things that happened during the war that kind of messed him up a little. He still is dealing with PTSD from that. Before they, before they called it that. And yet, he’s still trying, by essentially almost sort of ignoring his problems, leaning into what seems to be normal. Just sort of leaning on the whole “I am in the fire department” thing.
Yes, I am a normal person who does not have an anarchist brother. Who…
Who is mental mentally stable! Who has everything under control!
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It’s, it’s very much this narrative that even, you know, he’s trying to in part tell himself, but is also trying to maintain so that, you know, that he’s not descended upon both for, you know, the, the the having, you know, the fact that he is actually still dealing with this in his head, and also, you know, he’s an Italian in at a time, then they’re not looked favorably upon. And that that, again, is why he’s trying very badly to get people to see him just as a firefighter. And so that’s just sort of a public identity he’s trying to latch on to and that is now, as we’ve seen, starting not necessarily to break down per se, but to be something that he is questioning. Because what is the greater good when you’re dealing with a tragedy of the kind they’re trying to avert?
Yeah. And to pull back the curtain a little bit… The cut up men, cut up… I’ve used plural, I think you’ve only seen one kind of on screen. But they’re… I think, I think Ashley said that they’re trying to make a ready made art piece out of this whole thing?
They’re, they’re taking this this event and contextualizing it as as something that… I think I’m fine saying: they’re trying to make this event normal. Trying to make it less strange.
And more acceptable and digestible. And in all of the ways in which you are complicated are ways that kind of don’t fit into the lines of, of a piece of art, even even though… You know, Dada is the heavy inspiration for them. Even though Dada is very subversive against sort of general art culture, it’s definitely often very, very consumable. Very, especially to us now, we look at it and are like, “That’s cool!” And things that are cool, are kind of normal and less fuzzy and queer or complicated and rich.
Well, in there, it’s in conversation with traditional art, right? Like, it is not a different or separate thing, it is a part of that conversation. Because it is a response. So there’s a way in which it can’t be sort of counterculture. Like, it is culture.
And that sort of, I think one of the big questions of queer theory is like, “Can you shed the assumptions that have been… that everyone is operating under?” And I mean, I think many people argue, “No, you can… you should try, but you can’t.” But like, that’s, that’s one of the things about it was like, You don’t… You don’t have to be… If you are anti, you’re still reinforcing the initial assumption.
I know this is the wrong story for it. But it’s the question of, can the subaltern speak? Right? Like…
Yeah, in order in order to communicate to the system, you have to speak its language.
And I think that gets tough when it comes to things like mental health, where when you ask yourself, “What is what is normal? Or what is healthy?” Let’s say you bypass the word normal. And you say, “What is sufficiently healthy? What is sufficiently functional, sufficiently balanced?” You, I’m gonna say, need a metric, or something to measure that against, to look at. But that might not be true. But that that’s exactly that sort of question. Right? Like, can you define an idea of health that does not, is not based on the world around you?
Which I don’t, you know, I don’t, personally at this point in my life think that’s true. I think you have to look to the things you want to be able to do. And that is, you know, your metric of functional. Now question whether you should be doing those things. Sure. But, you know, that’s part of it. But to what degree mental health is identity, you know, that’s that’s a whole thing.
But you definitely get into that, “What is normal? What can we subvert?” Like if we, if we treat our mental health and our psychiatric conditions, as you know, not things to be rejected, not things to be covered up and disposed of or cured, treated a little less, you know, as pathologies, then are we subverting? Are we succeeding at subverting? No, we’re still in conversation. We’re not, you know, I guess it doesn’t have to be subverting or not subverting right, like Lucy said earlier, but… It’s still in conversation with these things, but it’s not… You’re not successfully isolating from our modern ideas of normal mental health, whatever the hell that is.
There’s a literal quote from Foucault that relates to what you just said, which is “The function of ‘to punish’ is the same as ‘to cure’ or ‘to educate’.”
Mm hmm. Yep.
For the record, that wasn’t literal. That was a slight paraphrase, but it’s pretty close.
How many times have you read that book?
A goodly number.
You know, as usual, Foucault’s pretty on point, I think.
Excellent. So I hope that the the conclusion of this story is sufficiently complicated and difficult to pin down as some of the things we’ve been discussing.
Next time, on Tabletop Garden: The Great Molasses Flood:
Tell you what I will put that together you probably have it over to them tomorrow or so…
Why not today, Jack?
I’m just gonna fight dirty. Like, I’m gonna run in.
And I’d very much appreciate it if we not burst into flames anytime soon.
So you’re just kind of standing here seething, watching this as firemen are scrambling about.
The big visual that persists… It’s the shot of this molasses pouring out and staining the Boston Harbor brown.
Rosette Diceless was created by Future Proof Games and can be found at rosetterpg.com. Our theme song is Great Molasses Disaster by Robin Aigner and Parlor Game, available under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Sharealike 3.0 license. You can find more on Tabletop Garden at tabletop.garden and you can support my work and get episodes early at: patreon.com/GregoryAveryWeir
Transcribed by https://otter.ai