THE NIGHTLY CHILL
2019.11.27
By Steve Arviso

I’ve Got a Receipt (Act Two).


FIGHT THE DAWN!

As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.

The Nightly Chill is the unstable experience of the mind and madness of Steve Arviso (@AmoralCrackpot). Mon-Fri. Ish.


CONSISTENTLY INCONSISTENT

  • PULPBUSTERS
  • I’VE GOT A RECEIPT (ACT TWO)
  • THE MIXTAPE

Tonight, chill with the collected second act of an absurd tale of consumerism and cosmic horror! The Nightly Chill will return Monday, December 2nd, with more original nonsense, including the beginning of the end of I’VE GOT A RECEIPT!, with Act 3, Scene 1!


VIRAL LOAD PODCAST

Explore the weirder, more unsettling corners of diseases that plague us with comedian Andrew Pupa and Brett Bayles!


WE ARE THE LOST

The Nightly Chill wants to show some love to a variety of cool shit from local and other independent artists, performers, and assorted creative types!

If you have a show you want to promote, especially if it’s located in SoCal, let’s get your poster and links! Got a cool short film you made for no money, or a song your band is trying to get out there to more peeps? Let’s embed that YouTube video and link new listeners to where they can support you!

Hit us up if you make:

  • Art
  • Comics
  • Music, audio dramas
  • Genre fiction, poetry, films, etc!

The weirder, the better!

We are The Lost. And together, we’ll make sure the world sees and hears us.


PULPBUSTERS

Chill with original audio projects such as Adena’s lil’ audio love note to the (great) granddaddy of pulp vigilantes, The Shadow. Or with Steve’s original short-form audio drama, Where Stars Collide!

Listen now on Spotify or sub to the PulpBusters audio feed using the links below.


I’VE GOT A RECEIPT – ACT TWO

The collected second act of an absurd tale of consumerism and cosmic horror.

ACT TWO

SCENE 1. BOBERT.

SOUNDSCAPE: STILL SOMEWHERE DEEP IN THE VOID OF A MASSIVE TORCH-LIT CAVERN BENEATH A LOCAL MALL.

NARRATOR
(V.O.)
Fifteen minutes down the path, Cassie’s heart fluttered to the distant rhythm of that foul and sinister praying.

DISTANT, FLUTTERING RHYTHM OF SOME FOUL, SINISTER PRAYER.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
A feeling of unease seized, knotted her stomach as familiar, yet wholly foreign sounds dug into her ears, crawling up and around the inner walls her skull like vines. The words were English in the same way someone choking might sound as if they’re asking, “Could you please do me a favor and remove this handful of peanuts I’ve crammed down my gullet?”

THE SOUNDS OF A BURNING VICTROLA.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
And the air tasted the way an original vinyl pressing of Huey Lewis and the News’ “Hip to Be Square” looks when played on a burning Victrola.

TIME COLLAPSING ITSELF IN THE WAKE OF A COSMIC SALAMANDER.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
But it was ultimately the stench of time collapsing upon itself every time the cosmic salamander passed overhead that had Cassie doubled over, nose pinched, and eyes squeezed down to slits.

CASSIE DRY HEAVES, STRUGGLES TO COMPOSE HERSELF.

(NOTE: BOBERT IS RIDICULOUSLY BUT SINCERELY CHEERY AND POLITE. THE IDEAL THEME PARK EMPLOYEE.)

BOBERT
(OFF.)
You lose something, Miss?

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DISORIENTING CACOPHONY OF CALM WATERS, A GENTLY ROCKING BOAT, AND ITS PLEASANT LITTLE BELL.

NARRATOR
(V.O.)
Cassie opened her eyes to find a well-groomed young man in a little sailor outfit looking back at her as if she were just about the silliest thing he’d seen that day. And he stood in a small jungle boat tied to the pier upon which Cassie now stood.

CASSIE
(Confused, weirded out.)
What the Hell? Who are you?

BOBERT
I’m Bobert, the ferryman.

CASSIE
(Wait. What?)
I’m sorry. Did you say ‘Bobert’?

BOBERT
Yes, I did.

CASSIE
Huh.

BOBERT
Yup.

CASSIE
(Even more confused.)
Wait. Where did you come from? I’ve been walking forever, and I didn’t see you until now.

BOBERT
(Chuckling.)
You must be new here.

CASSIE
(Lying. Poorly.)
Yes. That is correct. I am new here, and not someone who simply ran in here after startling real mall employees, who also totally didn’t catch me peeing behind a vending machine.

BOBERT
Cool.

CASSIE
Look. “Bobert,” was it?

BOBERT
That’s right.

CASSIE
Bobert.

BOBERT
(Nodding.)
Uh-huh?

CASSIE
I’m gonna be totally honest here. I think I’m tripping balls right now.

BOBERT
Oh?

CASSIE
Yeah. And I’m seeing and hearing and smelling all kinds of seriously weird shit.

BOBERT
Ya know, I thought I smelled a little tinkle.

CASSIE
What? No. Not that.

BOBERT
Really? I’m pretty sure that’s–

CASSIE
Shut up, Bobert.

BOBERT
Sorry.

CASSIE
Don’t worry about it.

BOBERT
(Tries this, fails.)
Sorry. Still a smidge worried.

CASSIE
(Sighing.)
Ugh. Look. I just want to go home. So, how do I go about getting out of here?

BOBERT
Oh. That’s easy.
(Gesturing.)
Just go right back out that door.

NARRATOR
(V.O.)
Cassie turned to find the back-end of the Coffee-2-Go only several yards away from their place on the docks.

CASSIE
Yeah. No. Definitely tripping balls.

BOBERT
You’ll need to scan your employee badge, though.

CASSIE
Sorry. New employee, remember? No badge.

BOBERT
(Puzzles this.)
Well… I suppose you can always pick up a new badge at the employee center inside the temple.

CASSIE
You said “temple.”

BOBERT
I did.

CASSIE
Of course you did. Let me guess… you ferry people to the temple?

BOBERT
Ain’t you smarter than the average bear.

CASSIE
(Stepping onto BOAT.)
Yeah. Somehow I doubt that.

DING-DING! BOBERT RINGS THE BOAT’S BELL.

SCENE 2. ABSURDAPOTAMUS.

SOUNDSCAPE: THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE SOUNDSCAPE OF A MOSTLY CALM TRIP THROUGH A STRANGE, INEXPLICABLE ABYSS.

THE SPUTTERING PUTT-PUTT OF THE JUNGLE BOAT’S ENGINE. UP, UNDER.

BOBERT
(Speaking into a PA system.)
And up on your left, you’ll see the Cosmic Salamander!

NARRATOR
(V.O.)
As they ventured across and through the abyss towards a distant glow along the horizon, Bobert quite literally jumped at the opportunity to play tour guide. He quacked at the sighting of a large eye with wings perched atop a large shard of concentrated madness drifting in the nothingness that surrounded them. 

THE PASSING SOUNDS OF LEATHERY WINGS AND CONCENTRATED MADNESS.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
He clucked at a naughty little absurdapotamus that playfully rocked the boat in passing.

THE GIDDY BELLOWING OF AN ABSURDAPOTAMUS.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
And he twittered ceaselessly for several minutes about the majestic beauty of a three-necked, two-headed abyssal megacephalosaurus.

THE UNEXPECTED UNDULATING OF A BEAUTIFUL THREE-NECKED, TWO-HEADED ABYSSAL MEGACEPHALOSAURUS.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
But it wasn’t until his honking over the cosmic salamander that Cassie had bothered to listen to a word Bobert said.

CASSIE
Wait. You can see that thing?

BOBERT
Of course, silly.

CASSIE
I thought I was going crazy.

BOBERT
Oh. Well, that might still happen.

CASSIE
What?

BOBERT
(Shrugging.)
Yeah. This place can be bit kooky. One time, I had to stop this guy from ripping off his bottom jaw. Poor guy thought his tongue was trying to kill him.

CASSIE
But you stopped him, right?

BOBERT
Nope.

CASSIE
That’s not comforting.

BOBERT
Got pretty messy, too.

CASSIE
I bet.

BOBERT
(Sighing.)
This job isn’t for everyone, I guess

CASSIE
You’re a real strange dude, Bobert.

SCENE 3. BIZARRE BAZAAR.

SOUNDSCAPE: THE DOCKS OF A BUSTLING BIZARRE BAZAAR BENEATH THE MALL. 

NARRATOR
(V.O.)
The entire trip technically took more than twenty minutes. However, due to the convenient way the abyss defies both the laws of physics and story structure, Cassie and Bobert arrived at the docks of an island bobbing about in the nothing there approximately thirteen minutes before they had even departed.

CASSIE
(Rushing off boat.)
Let me off! I’m gonna be sick!

BOBERT
Oh, you don’t want to do that! There’s no telling what might come out!

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
For Bobert, their impossibly early arrival meant there was plenty of time to give Cassie a full tour. And unfortunately for Cassie, this also meant there was time for a full tour.

SOUNDSCAPE: A BUSTLING BIZARRE BAZAAR BENEATH THE MALL.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
So as they navigated this unholy union of consumerism and madness given form, they stopped at several booths along the dock, perusing cheap jewelry, impressively unimpressive paintings of local landscapes, and some fish-like nightmares caught by a man Cassie wasn’t quite sure was brave or stupid. A sign written in blood assured absolutely nobody that these monstrosities were freshly caught chrono-finned tuna.

CASSIE
(Taking a whiff. Smiling.)
Hey! These things smell like peppermint!
(Concern.)
What? What’s wrong?

BOBERT
(Dismissive wave.)
Nothing. I’m sure you’ll probably be fine.

SOUNDSCAPE: CARNIVAL MIDWAY, GAMES.

NARRATOR
(V.O.)
They then wasted the next twenty minutes spending far too much money attempting–and failing–to win a stuffed Frankie the Insanity Flea on the midway.

GAME ATTENDANT
(Panicked.)
Miss, I need you to let go of the Quantum Madness Ball!

CASSIE
(Crazed.)
This game is freakin’ rigged, man!

SOUNDSCAPE: THE LINE OUTSIDE A FOOD COURT RESTROOM.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
This was followed by wasting fifteen minutes waiting to use the toilet in the food court after Cassie remembered she still hadn’t had a chance to properly tinkle.

CASSIE
Whoa. What’s with the line?

BOBERT
I’m not sure.

A MAINTENANCE WORKER STEPS OUT, HANGS SIGN.

MAINTENANCE
Sorry, people. Leak in the impossivents. Toilet’s closed. 

HAUNTING CHORUS OF BOOS.

SOUNDSCAPE: FOOD COURT.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
And then, somewhere between something called a nightcare center and the newly renovated pretzel place, they came across a man handing out pamphlets to an all-male performance of the Vagina Monologues in the screaming fields that Friday night.

COWORKER
You clocking out, Bobert?

BOBERT
Nah. Just giving the new girl a tour of the place on the way to get her a new badge.

CASSIE
Hi.

COWORKER
Oh, cool.

BOBERT
Yeah. She peed herself, so she’s going home early.

CASSIE
(WTF.)
Dude! What the Hell?

BOBERT
(Aw, shucks.)
Sorry. I thought it was worth mentioning.

COWORKER
(Shrugging.)
We’ve all been there. Hi, my name is (Frightened Screaming).

A BEAT.

CASSIE
(Considers this.)
That, uh… that short for something?

COWORKER
(Offended.)
Wow.

CASSIE
What?

COWORKER
(Ignoring Cassie.)
Anyway. I’ve gotta get back to work before someone bites my head–

THE DISTANT CLATTERING OF A LARGE BELL.

BOBERT
(Squealing.)
Oh, my god!

CASSIE
(So done with this shit.)
What? What the Hell’s next? And what’s with all the floaty dudes in robes?

COWORKER
They’re headed towards the amphitheater.

BOBERT
(Childish glee.)
It’s time for an offering!

CASSIE
Offering?

BOBERT
We don’t get too many of these lately. Come on!

BOBERT AND CASSIE HURRY OFF.

SCENE 4. THE M’NA-GER.

SOUNDSCAPE: THE MUFFLED ROAR OF A LARGE, ROWDY CROWD FOLLOWING ALONG TO A FOUL, SINISTER PRAYER PLAYED ON A LOOP OVER THE PA SYSTEM.

(NOTE: THE PRAYER IS FINALLY REVEALED TO BE A FOUL, SINISTER RENDITION OF PIERO UMILIANI’S “MAH NA MAH NA.”)

NARRATOR
(V.O.)
If you were to remove the top portion of your typical professional hockey arena, replaced the chill, dry air with something similar to that of burning plastic–though, only inside out and with the lights off–and filled it to the nosebleeds with robed figures–in addition to colorful jerseys and painted, furry bellies of grown men bellowing a foul and wholly sinister rendition of Piero Umiliani’s classic hit “Mah Na Mah Na”–you’d have a fairly poor image that vaguely resembles what Cassie witnessed upon stepping through what she was sure was a bed sheet covering the entrance to the amphitheater.

CASSIE
(Drinking it in, hating it.)
Yeah. I’m sure this never gets old.

SUDDEN AND IMMEDIATE DEAD SILENCE.

CASSIE
Aw, crap.
(To Bobert.)
They heard me, didn’t they?

BOBERT
(Shushing. Whispering.)
It’s starting!

SILENCE. THEN…

PHHHHT… PHHHHT… DOUG, A MAN IN CORDUROYS, SHUFFLES ACROSS CENTER ICE TO A PODIUM. UP, UNDER.

CASSIE
(Whispering.)
Who’s the dork in the polo and corduroys?

BOBERT
(Whispering.)
That’s Doug, the M’na M’na Manager.

CASSIE
(Whispering.)
Wow. That’s quite a M’na-outhful.

BOBERT
(Whispering.)
I know, right? Personally, I always thought he should be called the M’na-ger.

(NOTE: DOUG THE M’NA-GER SPEAKS IN A DRY, LIFELESS VOICE INTO A MICROPHONE, THROUGH THE PA SYSTEM.)

DOUG THE M’NA-GER
(D.)
Good afternoon, everyone.

MOSTLY EVERYONE
(Just as dry and lifeless.)
Good afternoon, Doug.

DOUG THE M’NA-GER
(D.)
Now. I know things haven’t been looking too good for us, numbers-wise. But I’m happy to announce that we have not one, but three–

DOUG’S PHONE RINGS.

DOUG THE M’NA-GER
(D.) (CONT’D.)
Sorry. Just give me–
(Answering phone.)
Hello?
Yeah. No, this isn’t a good–
Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Okay. I will. But I have to go.
Yes. I’m at work.
Okay.
Okay.
Okay, Ma. I gotta go.
Wait. How many again?
Okay. Got it.
Yes. I got it.
Okay.
(Whispering into phone.)
I love you, too.
(Hanging up.)
Right. As I was saying. We have not one, but three offerings scheduled for this afternoon!

A SMATTERING OF APPLAUSE.

DOUG THE M’NA-GER
(D.) (CONT’D.)
So please, help me give a warm Garden welcome to today’s Sacrificial Lambs!

BANG! LIGHTS, MUSIC, THE ROAR OF THE CROWD!

NARRATOR
(V.O.)
As colorful lights and bloodlust filled the amphitheater, a one-hundred square foot, super-high resolution video screen provided everyone in attendance with a crystal clear image of three mostly-confused people forced to skate to center ice.

GRACEFUL ICE SKATING.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
The first was a petite, middle-aged Hispanic man with great hair holding a pair of slacks. He was every bit as graceful on his feet as his hair was thick and firmly held in place.

MAN WITH NICE HAIR DOES A LITTLE TRICK.

POLITE, BUT IMPRESSED OOHS, AAHS, AND APPLAUSE.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
Next came a confused Polynesian woman in a lovely floral dress.

CLUMSY SKATING.

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
And then a ham-faced potato rolled out onto the ice, squawking the same demand over and over.

SISTER STOMPS OUT ONTO THE ICE, PISSED.

SISTER
(OFF.) (Squawking.)
I want to speak to the manager!

CASSIE
(Mild Surprise.)
Oh, hey. I know that potato!

BOBERT
You do?

CASSIE
Yeah, it’s my sister. What’s she doing down there?

BOBERT
(Ruh-roh.)
Uh…

SISTER’S SQUAWKING CONTINUES. UP, UNDER.

NARRATOR
(V.O.)
As Bobert gracelessly avoided saying anything at all, the Hispanic man with great hair, and a wholly newfound talent for ice skating, attempted to be heard over the squawking potato.

MAN WITH GREAT HAIR
(To SISTER.)
Excuse me. Do you mind if I go first? I think I left my truck running in the parking lot.

CONFUSED WOMAN
Well, you can go ahead of me. I’m not even sure why I’m here.

NARRATOR
(V.O.)
But before Cassie’s potato of a sister could even begin to peck and claw at either of them for daring to have the gall to interrupt her mid-squawk, all three were suddenly and swiftly picked up by a large tendril made of nothing–

MAN, WOMAN, SISTER SCOOPED UP…

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D.)
–gobbled up whole by teeth that were most certainly not there a moment before–

GOBBLED UP…

NARRATOR
(V.O.) (CONT’D)
–and their bones spat back out onto the ice one at a time, like pulpy, bloody watermelon seeds.

SPAT OUT.

AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE.

CASSIE
(Scared, pissed, confused.)
What. The. Shit.

EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING TURNS TO CASSIE.

ANOTHER SILENCE. THEN…

CASSIE
(Considers this.)
Uh…
(Singing. Poorly.)
Mah Na Mah na!
Doo, doo–
(Checks crowd.)
doo-doo?
(Beat.)
(Hangs head, sighs.)
Goddammit.

END ACT TWO

TO BE CONTINUED…

READ IT ALL NOW!


THE MIXTAPE

Tracks I’m currently chillin’ with. Tonight, other nights. Follow the Playlist on YouTube to keep up with all the changes.

Rubber Ball (2017) – Cage the Elephant


GRAND GHOULISH – THE E-BOOK!

Originally serialized in the digital pages of The Nightly Chill, Steve Arviso’s Grand Ghoulish collects the completed absurd twisted romance between a photographer, a housewife, and her husband–a surgeon who enjoys getting a little blood on his hands!

Read it for FREE in the back issues of The Nightly Chill, or directly support The Nightly Chill and other works by purchasing a copy of the e-book!


SUBSCRIBE FOR THAT WALK-OF-SHAME FEELING EVERY MORNING AFTER!


If you enjoy The Nightly Chill and would like to support my work, please consider supporting it via Patreon for as little as $1 a month.



YOU ARE NOT ALONE

THE NIGHTLY CHILL
Steve Arviso
2019

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