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E10: Grand Opening

It’s Grand Opening Day across the street at the Badger & Bucket. Stan is in awe. Betula is skeptical. Gubbin is… suspiciously busy.

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Episode Transcript

INTRO (ELI)

Hi everybody! It’s Eli, here with the latest episode of The Axe & Crown. Just wanted to remind you of all the ways you can follow us online. We’re on Twitter and Facebook; we’ve got an email list; we’ve got a Patreon page where you can support us and get cool perks; and now you can follow our shiny new Instagram feed at alba_salix. There’s links to all of that at albasalix.com. And now, on with the show.

MUSIC—OPENING THEME

ANNOUNCER

The Axe and Crown. Episode Ten: Grand Opening.

INT. BAR—DAY

Stan comes in from the street. Gubbin is pushing a wheelbarrow through from the basement stairs to the back door, and actually humming to himself.

STAN

Hey Betula!

BETULA

Hi Stan.

STAN

Hey Gubbin.

GUBBIN

Hey.

STAN

Wow, you should see what they’ve done across the street.

GUBBIN

What, at the Badger and Bucket? Somehow I doubt they’re letting trolls in the front door.

BETULA

They aren’t.

STAN

I know, I know. But I wish you guys could see it. They really went all out for their grand opening.

GUBBIN

Eh. Good for them.

STAN

The decor—brilliant. All the furniture’s got that rough wood panel kind of a look, to go with the “bucket” idea…

GUBBIN

Yeah, yeah. I’ve seen Bucket pubs before. They’re all the same.

Gubbin heads out the back door.

STAN

(calling after him)

But the Badger and Bucket’s got the patio!

(back to Betula)

Plus the furniture’s all wood reclaimed from an old ship. Dorothea gave me a grand tour!

BETULA

Are you still all chummy with her?

STAN

Yeah! But only to observe and figure out their weaknesses.

BETULA

And…? What are their weaknesses?

STAN

Right. Right. I will get back to you on that. Such a sweet building though. I love those big tall warehouse ceilings.

Gubbin reappears.

STAN (CONT’D)

Hey Gubbin, do you think we could raise the ceilings in here somehow?

GUBBIN

Raise them?

STAN

Yeah. I mean, since we’re doing so much work on the building…

GUBBIN

Short of taking out the floor above us… no.

STAN

Oh. What if we take out that floor… and put it on top of the building?

GUBBIN

Thank the gods you were never an engineer.

STAN

You know, I kinda wish I was now! The bathrooms at the Badger and Bucket are so amazing. With the running water and everything… Gubbin, you remember toilettis?

Gubbin stops in his tracks.

GUBBIN

Remember what?

STAN

Those fancy Mellurian style toilets that Betula was telling us about? They’ve got ‘em at the Badger and Bucket. A whole room of them!

GUBBIN

Yup.

STAN

You pull this lever thing and it’s like, whoosh! It cleans itself.

GUBBIN

Yeah. That’s why they had to tear up the street last week, so they could hook up their stupid pipes.

STAN

Hey, it’s not like we were open for business anyway.

GUBBIN

Yeah, it was sure nice of Dorothea to hold off on her digging until after she had closed us down.

He heads downstairs.

STAN

Why is Gubbin still working on the basement?

BETULA

It’s the foundation, he says.

STAN

But he said it was perfectly sound, like, a week ago. What’s left to do to it?

BETULA

I guess he’s just extra paranoid. Oh, did he tell you? The town building inspector’s finally coming today.

STAN

Whaaaat! No, that’s awesome. We can finally get the Axe and Crown un-condemned and back in business!

BETULA

Well, if we’re lucky.

STAN

I can’t wait. I have got so many ideas. Did you know the Badger and Bucket has a dozen kinds of beer?

BETULA

Yeah. I saw all the barrels coming in yesterday.

STAN

More than a dozen!

BETULA

Why so many?

STAN

There’s all different flavours. There’s Balgomarian ale with cinnamon and prunes… pine-infused cheesecake lager.

BETULA

Yum.

STAN

And the food, oh man!

BETULA

(alarmed)

You ate the food?

STAN

Yeah! Dorothea was handing out free samples.

BETULA

I told you not to!

STAN

What, were you worried she was going to try to poison me?

BETULA

Or something like that.

STAN

Nah, there was nothing wrong with it. She was eating all the same food herself!

BETULA

(not relieved)

Oh… well. That’s a relief. You sure you’re feeling all right?

STAN

Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Just a little full. Gosh, the desserts. I was thinking we should have a dessert menu…

Gubbin re-emerges from the basement.

GUBBIN

Menu?

STAN

Oh, uh, well…

GUBBIN

No. Stan. No.

STAN

Maybe just a couple of additions? The Badger and Bucket have these awesome puff pastry things with jam in them…

GUBBIN

It took our “cook” a month to learn not to burn steak to a crisp. How well do you think she’s gonna do at doing a croquembouche? Huh?

BETULA

Gee, thanks, Uncle.

STAN

Or they have these special fried turnip things called “frites”.

GUBBIN

Just admit it. You’re still all goo-goo for that Dorothea.

STAN

Her? No way! She got us shut down and forced us to repaint!

GUBBIN

Uh huh. You’re always over there talking to her.

He heads out the back door.

STAN

Yeah, that’s because we have a professional rivalry. We can totally steal all her good ideas.

(burps)

Oof. Excuse me. Geez! I really ate too much over there.

BETULA

Stan.

STAN

I know, I know, you told me not to. So? I’m a little bloated!

BETULA

And soon you’re going to be nauseous, and then you’re going to be… emptying out.

STAN

What makes you say that?

BETULA

Have you noticed the people leaving the Badger and Bucket?

Stan peers out the window.

STAN

What about them? Oh yeah, they don’t look too happy! Hey, I wonder why…

BETULA

Because they ate something bad.

STAN

Well, they don’t look sick.

(with feigned innocence)

I wonder if something went wrong with the toilettis…

BETULA

Well… what about that guy?

STAN

Okay, maybe that guy looks sick. Ooo, and she’s kinda doubled over. Aw man, maybe something is wrong with the food!

BETULA

Little bit. Little bit.

STAN

Oh gods. Do you think I should go see a doctor?

BETULA

It shouldn’t be that bad.

Stan makes for the front door as Gubbin comes back in.

STAN

You never know with these things. I think I’m feeling faint.

GUBBIN

What’s the matter, kid? Competition stressing you out?

STAN

We think some of the food today was off.

GUBBIN

Serves you right for eating there.

STAN

I should probably go to the House of Healing before this gets worse.

BETULA

I don’t know if you have to go that far. It should pass pretty quickly.

STAN

You said “emptying out”! That sounds serious to me.

BETULA

It’s because of the kombonchi.

STAN

The what?

BETULA

In all the Bucket pubs, they use this goo made from seaweed to enhance the flavour in everything. So they can use cheapass ingredients, and then just add kombonchi to make it taste good.

STAN

Uh oh. Do we use it?

BETULA

Nah, Uncle won’t let me.

GUBBIN

Johann would never touch the stuff.

BETULA

Yeah, well, I’m not a fancy chef like Johann.

STAN

So how do the Bucket pubs get away with using ko-badgey if it makes people sick?

BETULA

Oh, it’s usually fine… unless you happen to get a bad batch.

STAN

Betula! Did you…?

BETULA

I may have.

GUBBIN

May have poisoned a whole pub full of people?

BETULA

Not poisoned! Just gave them a bit of gastric distress.

GUBBIN

(laughs)

All right! That’s my niece! Nice going, kid.

STAN

I don’t think any of this is funny!

GUBBIN

How’d you manage it?

BETULA

I know some people in the food supply business. I’m surprised you didn’t try to pull a stunt like that for their grand opening.

GUBBIN

Yeah, I say, let them have their moment.

BETULA

Come on. What have you really been doing this week? You’re up to something too.

GUBBIN

Just a little below-ground infrastructure project.

BETULA

On the foundation… Wait. No. You’re digging a tunnel.

GUBBIN

A ventilation shaft.

BETULA

Ha! Does this ventilation shaft happen to run directly across the street to the Badger and Bucket?

GUBBIN

It may have an exit in that general direction.

STAN

Gubbin! Aren’t they going to notice a hole in their basement?

GUBBIN

Nah. It runs most of the way under the street, and then for the last five feet it’s just a tiny little tube. Angles up, then connects to their drain. They’ll never suspect that’s where the cockroaches are getting in.

BETULA

You put cockroaches in their basement?

GUBBIN

No. Not yet. I’ll wait until we get the Axe and Crown open again so their disgruntled patrons can come over here.

STAN

Ughhh…

BETULA

Stan, you’re not looking too good.

STAN

Too much kobatchney.

BETULA

I’m sorry, Stan. I tried to warn you.

STAN

That’s okay…

GUBBIN

Why don’t you use their fancy bathroom across the street? It was their food you ate.

STAN

No, I can’t do that. The toilettis are all blocked up.

BETULA

Oh yeah! Everyone must be lining up to use them.

STAN

Well, also… the pipes are frozen.

GUBBIN

Oh yeah?

BETULA

Frozen?

STAN

Yeah. See, at the bar, they were using these little alchemical gizmos to make ice. You just drop one in water, and a few minutes later you’ve got a solid block. So I thought, I wonder what would happen if you flushed a couple of these?

BETULA

Stan!

GUBBIN

You froze the pipes.

STAN

Yup.

GUBBIN

The pipes that carry sewage down to the sewer.

STAN

Yup.

GUBBIN

Causing them to back up hilariously into the Badger and Bucket.

STAN

Yup.

BETULA

Which is now connected to our basement.

GUBBIN

Oh crap.

Gubbin rushes downstairs.

STAN

Pretty good, eh? Excuse me.

GUBBIN

(from below)

Augh! Dammit! Stan! Betula! Get down here!

MUSIC STING

INT. BAR—LATER

STAN

Well. This has been a learning experience.

GUBBIN

Yeah. Not words I would use, but yeah, it has, hasn’t it? Let’s see. What exactly have we learned?

STAN

Well, on the plus side, there is a big untapped market for pubs in this area.

BETULA

And we learned that ice expands when it freezes.

STAN

Also, toilettis use a lot of water.

GUBBIN

Uh huh.

BETULA

Also, it’s hard to hide an illegal “ventilation shaft” that’s leaking sewage into your basement.

STAN

Yeah. At least the inspector gave us a firm date for a return visit.

BETULA

Assuming Dorothea doesn’t manage to get that delayed somehow.

STAN

But at least that’ll give us some time for the smell to go down!

GUBBIN

Yeah, yeah. Most importantly, though, what?

STAN

Most importantly, we learned… the value of friendship! Bring it in. Bring it in.

BETULA

Believing in yourself!

STAN

That the things we have in common are more important than the things that set us apart!

GUBBIN

No, what we learned is, in future, if either of you two want to pull a prank on the neighbours, you ask me first!

BETULA

Right.

STAN

That sounds good. Right. Yes.

Silence.

BETULA

It was pretty good though, wasn’t it?

STAN

I mean, the Bucket had to close down for almost as long as we did!

GUBBIN

Yeah, it could have gone worse!

STAN

Go team Axe and Crown!

They all cheer.

STAN (CONT’D)

(burps)

Oh. Excuse me.

GUBBIN

Ugh. Take that outside.

MUSIC—CLOSING THEME

ANNOUNCER

The Axe & Crown!

Starring Hugo Jones, Art Carlson and Marisa King.

Written and directed by Sean Howard and Eli McIlveen.

Recorded in Toronto at Trench Recordings.

Sound design by Eli McIlveen.

Produced by Sean Howard.

The Axe & Crown is a Forgery League production. To find out more, visit forgeryleague.com.

In the mood for something a little more science fictiony? Check out one of our favourites, Liberty: Tales from the Tower, a horror series set on a far-off colony world. You’ll find it in your favourite podcast app. And we’ll see you next week.