CRYPTID CAPE, S1 E1: Welcome to Water’s Edge
Published on July 1st, 2019
(calming music plays in the background, tape recorder clicks)
Avra: Everything is different in Water’s Edge. You can tell from the moment you cross the bridge from the mainland. If you have your windows open, you notice that the air is cleaner and there’s a faint smell of sea salt. It’s pleasant in a way I didn’t expect, although I imagine it will fade into oblivion with time, as invisible as the smell of one’s own house.
The whole island is flatter than any place I’ve ever been, too, which might reflect more on my lack of travel experience rather than the actual geography of this tiny island. (laughs lightly) That, however, is something I know I’m not exaggerating. This island is tiny. I’ve only been in Water’s Edge for a day and on the drive in I saw most everything there is to see, from a distance, at least.
It’s definitely a shore town if I’ve ever seen one. The Labor Day crowd is still gradually rolling out, a few nostalgic beachgoers squeezing the very last drops of leisure out of the summer before buckling down to wait for the winter holidays. I’ve been doing some research during the lazier bouts of unpacking and, according to Wikipedia, there are just about 300 permanent residents in this town. I don’t know if that even qualifies it as a town. Maybe a village or hamlet or something.
I feel like I’m waxing poetic a little too much. I guess I haven’t gotten used to the whole “talking into a tape recorder” sort of thing. I feel like I should be stately, so if someone listens back to this in the future I’ll sound more scholarly and less like I’m talking to my sixth grade diary. God forbid that happens. At least once I start working at the Weekly I’ll have a bit more justification to carry this thing around.
(a wolf howls)
Spooky. Wait, wait, how in the hell is a wolf here? I mean honestly, what four square mile island have you ever seen that has wolves on it? Jesus, now I’m addressing the tape recorder as “you.” Maybe it’s time for bed. Hm, that’s gonna be different, too. A soft, luxurious king bed, all to myself. Lots of different things here, but I guess that’s what I signed up for. How do I—how do I end one of these? Uh, it’s 11:34 pm, September 7th, I think, uh, 2013. And this is me, Avra, signing off. (tape recorder clicks)
(upbeat theme music plays)
(theme music fades, continuing to play lightly in the background)
Avra: My god, I don’t think I’ve ever slept on a mattress as comfortable as the one Dezi’s got here. That woman is a blessing. And her beach house is worth way more than what I’m paying for it. Not that I’m complaining, of course.
(a bowl taps on the counter, cereal pours into it)
She even left me some food she didn’t go through during her family’s vacation. (fridge opens) Although there’s no milk. (fridge shuts) But, that’s probably for the best.
(yawning) It’s early, like the-sun-hasn’t-come-up-fully sort of early. Wonder if I’ll ever be able to get a full night’s sleep again before my brain shakes itself awake. Maybe I should go for a walk on the beach or something. Embrace all those stereotypes. I really need to get back into running, but I tell myself that one at least once a month. Maybe being in Water’s Edge will be different. I don’t even necessarily want better, just... just different.
Oh, shit, what? (tape recorder clicks)
(tape recorder clicks, in the background air whooshes past Avra’s car as she drives)
Avra: Dezi doesn’t have any coffee. She doesn’t even have a coffee maker. I should’ve known, she was always drinking tea at the office. Eh, I’ll deal with that at the Target on the mainland tonight, but I need some coffee now. I know this town’s small but damn, there’s almost nothing open outside of the summer season. There’s like two places that serve coffee and one looks too hipster for me this early in the morning. So, diner it is.
(light upbeat music plays and people chatter in a restaurant)
(a bell jingles as the door opens)
Lizzie: Oh, new face. You, uh, you’re the new writer, right? For the Weekly?
Avra: Word gets around fast here, doesn’t it?
Lizzie: Oh good, just making sure you weren’t a summer crowd straggler. You wanna table or a spot at the bar?
Avra: Uh, bar is fine, thanks.
Lizzie: Take your pick. Here’s a menu. (menu flaps) Nice meeting you, by the way.
Avra: You too, uh, Shelly.
Lizzie: Oh, Shelly’s not my name. Owner wanted to do beachy-themed name tags, thought it would “immerse people in the atmosphere” or whatever, as if we weren’t already at the beach. Nah, my name’s Lizzie.
Lizzie: Pretty. Well, go get your breakfast, and welcome to town.
Lizzie: (her voice fading as she walks away) Marnie, you need a refill on that cranberry juice?
(Avra’s footsteps click, a chair squeaks on the floor as it’s moved)
Joey: What can I get you, miss?
Avra: Um, can I just have a black coffee and a... (faltering) Uh, a black coffee. That’s it.
Joey: You got it.
Avra: (hesitant) Uh, where’s your restroom?
Joey: Down that’a way to the right.
(Avra’s footsteps click, slow at first, then quicken, a door is opened and shut quickly and locked)
Avra: (panicked) Oh my god. This is not real. This cannot be real. Get it together, Avra, you’re just hallucinating again, there’s no way that man could actually be a... a what? A living freaking skeleton? Do you hear yourself? Come on, Avra, it’s your first day, could you at least attempt to pull together some semblance of sanity, just this once?
(a knock on the door)
Lizzie: Everything alright?
(the door clicks open)
Avra: Uh, fine, yeah, yeah. Sorry, sorry.
Lizzie: Oh, you don’t have to apologize, I just...
(Avra’s footsteps hurry away)
Wait! But your coffee?
(the door opens, jingling the bell, then slams shut)
(tape recorder clicks)
Roger: ...old-school, I really appreciate you embracing it. Is it on?
Avra: I just turned it on, yeah.
Roger: Hello, future Avra, I hope you’re having fun reviewing notes. (laughs lightly) Alright, enough of that, let’s get down to business things.
Avra: Oh, yes of course.
Roger: You can leave that on, I don’t mind. No top-secret stuff here.
So, I’m not sure how much you know about this job. I had Joleen from this town’s Marketing Board write up the posting for me.
Avra: I understand it’s an editor in chief position?
Roger: That’s right, that’s right. Well, it’s a bit more than a typical editor in chief would be doing. You are essentially the one-woman-band running Water’s Edge Weekly. Are you familiar with the Weekly?
Avra: I, uh...
Roger: It’s okay to say no, I didn’t expect you would considering you’re all the way from... (snaps fingers lightly) from uh, where did you say you were from again?
Avra: Oh, Philadelphia.
Roger: Ah, yes, lovely city, lots of history. I’m sure you had better things to read than our little local newsletter. Here, let me find you one. (desk drawer opens, shuffles through papers)
Okay, here we are, this is one of my favorites. (paper being flipped through in the background) The Weekly is, in its truest form, a newsletter that publishes each Friday with stories about our lovely little town and its unique residents. Spotlight stories about interesting neighbors, previews of art events or community gatherings, uh, even reviews of shows and movies that come to town during slower weeks. Whatever you deem newsworthy which, coming from a big city, might not seem like much at first, but trust me, there are lots of lovely things with lovely people behind them that happen in sleepy summer towns.
Avra: Um, is this a Halloween issue or something?
(flipping through papers)
Roger: Uh, I don’t believe so. If I gave you the right one that should be from this past March.
Avra: Uh, who wrote this?
Roger: (proud) That would be yours truly. (wavering) Is there something wrong with it?
Avra: Oh, no, no, I mean...
Roger: (serious) Because I go through those issues with a fine-toothed comb, I assure you. No mistakes are left unedited.
Avra: I—I’m just a bit confused, I suppose.
Roger: Feel free to ask any questions, even critical ones. I can take criticism, I promise.
Avra: Well, maybe I’m just not getting the joke, I’m not sure. But right here (paper flips), it says this local resident is a werewolf? And then over here, (paper flips) there’s a clearly doctored photo of a person without a head. And this, (paper flips multiple times) what is this, a mermaid?
Roger: Siren, actually. I’m afraid I don’t see the issue, these are just our residents.
Avra: Hmm. Yeah. (a beat, papers shuffling) So… so this is a joke, then? This whole damn thing is all just a big old goof, innit? Or is this some sort of new EIC initiation thing?
Roger: Avra, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Avra: Sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but these are fictional creatures in your paper here. Monsters. And having fiction beside news isn’t exactly something I’m privy to in journalism.
Roger: (sighs deeply) Oh lord. You’re uh, you’re not a cryptid, are you?
Avra: Excuse me?
Roger: Ah. Well fuck.
Avra: Wait, wait, go back. Did you just say “cryptid?”
Roger: Yes, we prefer it heavily over “monster.” Such a grotesque term.
Roger: Avra, Water’s Edge is a cryptid cape town. Every year-round resident here is some sort of nonhuman being. And we believed you were, too, which is why you were hired.
Avra: Why on earth would you think I was a monster?
Roger: Don’t act like this is my fault, you used cryptid code in your cover letter! Saying you were “hungry for the facts” and have “worked through the night to get things done.” That is clearly vampiric writing.
Avra: (a slight laugh of disbelief) Those aren’t very unique things, maybe your monster code needs a bit of tweaking.
Roger: Cryptid, please! Lord, I, I really need to have Joleen go through these letters more carefully.
Avra: I’m… I’m back in a hospital, aren’t I? This is all some crazy nightmare.
Roger: No, Avra, trust me. That would make my job much easier, but no. All of this is most definitely real.
Avra: So the skeleton I saw at the diner?
Roger: You met Joey? He’s a great man, wonderful conversationalist. And does some great slam poetry, too.
Avra: And the waitress?
Roger: Nadine? Or Lizzie? Probably Lizzie if you went this morning, sweetest oracle I’ve ever met.
Avra: And you?
Roger: Tree giant, nice to meet you. The hair is not dyed, before you ask. Naturally green.
Avra: Holy shit.
Roger: Yes, holy shit indeed. We don’t let humans see our unmasked appearances, that’s why we run this resort town without an issue. And for the remainder of the year we’re able to drop our disguises. It’s quite a convenient cover, although very, very rarely a human slips through, sees things they aren’t really supposed to.
Avra: Oh god, are you going to eat me now that I know, or something?
Roger: Eat you? Oh lord, no. We’ll just have to have Henry wipe your memory, just of your time in Water’s Edge of course. It’s a quick and painless process. We can’t have you blabbing about our existence to everyone once you leave.
Avra: I’m in fucking Men in Black now.
Roger: It really isn’t a difficult process. Although...
Avra: What? Rethinking offing me?
Roger: See, this is why we hate the term “monsters,” comes with these sorts of connotations that we’re going to kill people who find us.
Avra: (lightly nervous) No, don’t kill, just erase their memory.
Roger: Eh, well, your credentials are quite good. And your writing samples... These are some of the best journalism I’ve seen in a long time.
Avra: What are you saying?
Roger: God, I can’t believe I’m doing this. This is quite unorthodox, but I’m desperate for someone to take over the Weekly. I can’t keep running it along with everything else I do here in town. If you can manage living in a town of cryptids and are willing to take a binding oath to never tell outsiders of our true existence here, the job is yours.
Roger: With full benefits and a guaranteed holiday bonus.
Avra: Yeah. Yeah, okay. I’ll take it.
(tape recorder clicks)
(gentle music fades in, tape recorder clicks, light waves crash in the background)
Avra: I thought I could go to sleep and when I woke up everything would be back to normal. I should’ve known better. I still woke up in Dezi’s house, still have a job as the only employee of the Water’s Edge Weekly, and still don’t know why the hell this is happening to me. I thought sitting out on the beach would help, the whole calming ocean wave sound and salty breeze combination. And I suppose it does a bit, but it’s only clearing my head enough to prove that all this is real. There is no waking up from reality. (sighs lightly) I wanna go home. Not like back-to-the-house home, like home-home. But do I even have that anymore? Philly’s got nothing for me and there’s no hometown returning that can be done now that Mom and Dad have gone and retired. So I’m stuck here, in a strange town, full of strange monsters, yearning for a place that doesn’t exist. God, what am I even doing here? And I took the job, am I really that freaking insane? Or desperate? Or… both? (sighs) I hate this, I hate this, I hate this freaky town and my weird-ass job and this, this goddamn recorder! Fuck this!
(the sound from the recorder is muffled as it is picked up and thrown, a beat)
(quick footsteps approach, sounds obscured by the sand)
Lizzie: Hey, Avra, right?
(fingers tap on the recorder as it is picked up and dusted off, the sound clears)
Lizzie: Looks like you dropped this. I know you probably don’t want it right now judging by how far you chucked it, but I’ve noticed a lot of times I’ve thrown things I end up missing them.
Avra: Thanks, uh, Lizzie?
Lizzie: Hey, you remembered. You mind if I sit for a minute? Running on sand is harder than it looks, and it already looks pretty damn hard.
Avra: Oh, yeah, go ahead.
(sand shifts as Lizzie sits)
Lizzie: So, word from Roger is you’re a little different than the rest of us.
Avra: That’s one way of putting it. (scoffs lightly)
Lizzie: And you still took the job? Huh, you’re interesting.
Avra: I would argue I’m the least interesting person on this island. I mean, unless you guys have an invisible man or something, but even then, that’s pretty weird.
Lizzie: Oh, you mean Arthur? I’m joking. Sorry, I’m sure it’s annoying for a stranger to make light of a difficult situation. I’m sure you think this place is weird and you’re probably scared out of your mind but don’t want to show it because you’re afraid you’ll end up back wherever you came from with no memory of Water’s Edge. That’s not going to happen, though. We’re cryptids, not monsters, and there’s a difference.
Avra: And what’s that?
Lizzie: Cryptids are… unique creatures. We’re special and weird and some of us have abnormal abilities and some of us just look really strange, but we’re all just people. Monsters are bad, doesn’t matter what species they are or where they came from. Being strange doesn’t automatically qualify you to be a monster, just like being a monster doesn’t mean you’re not human.
Avra: Yeah, that’s fair. Sorry. I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to stay here, though. I… I ran away from a lot of stuff back where I used to live. I had to. At least I think I did. I know it wasn’t good and it wasn’t responsible, but the brain is good at convincing itself that bad choices are good in the moment. Things were supposed to be better here, I was gonna have a normal writing job at a normal publication in a sleepy little beach town and live in my old coworker’s rental. And now I’m the sole employee of a paper in a town full of mon—cryptids, and I still feel... I don’t even know what I feel.
Lizzie: It’s only been a couple days. Give it time. I think Water’s Edge and its residents will grow on you, you just gotta let it. And hey, all of us here were running from something at one time or another. Some of us still are. That’s what brought us here. There’s no shame in it. Besides, it’s good exercise.
(Avra chuckles lightly)
I’ll see you around town, then?
Avra: Yeah. Yeah, I’ll be around.
Lizzie: Good. Come by the diner, Joey’s still got that coffee for you.
Avra: Will do.
Avra: Is it rude to ask...?
Lizzie: What I am? (laughs) I don’t mind, personally, but everyone’s different. I’m an oracle. Get visions of the future in riddles for Greek heroes who all died out millennia ago. Like one of those cheap fortune tellers at the boardwalk, but free, and a lot spookier.
Lizzie: I’ll see you around. Don’t forget your recorder.
(footsteps quickly retreat, ocean waves continue to crash for a moment before the tape recorder clicks off)
(upbeat theme music plays, fading into the background as Victoria speaks)
Victoria: Thank you for listening to Cryptid Cape, Episode 1 : “Welcome to Water’s Edge.” The show is created and produced by me, Victoria Pereira. I also voice Avra. The voice of Lizzie is Christina Rose Hargis. The voice of Roger is Christopher Medina. The voice of Joey is Aidan Gibbs. Our theme song is “Pink Nights in Ohio” by Ryan Andersen. The other songs featured in this episode were “After All” by Geographer, “Spanish Rose” by Chris Haugen, and “Water Lillies” by Density and Time. Our cover art was created by Christy Duprey. Be sure to subscribe to Cryptid Cape so you don’t miss our next episode, we publish every two weeks. In the meantime, check us out on Facebook at Cryptid Cape Podcast, or on Twitter, @CryptidCape. And tell your friends if you enjoyed this episode, it means the world. See you next time.
(theme music fades out)