Skip to content

E7: Under Construction

A new pub is moving into the warehouse across the street, and Gubbin isn’t pleased.

Download MP3 (18 MB)


Episode Transcript

INTRO (ELI)

Welcome back to the Axe and Crown.

Yes! We’ve got six brand new episodes coming at you weekly, while we continue to line up the old ducks for Season Two of Alba Salix.

If you like what you hear, and want to support us in creating MORE Alba, you can do so on our Patreon page. We’ve set up a page there where you can pledge money on a per-episode basis, and get perks like access to our episodes before they go out to the rest of the world, and our recording scripts complete with writer’s commentary, and other behind-the-scenes treats. That’s all at patreon.com/albasalix—and there’ll be a link on our website too.

And now, on with the show. Thanks to Alexander Danner of the podcast Greater Boston for lending his voice on this week’s episode!

MUSIC—OPENING THEME

ANNOUNCER

The Axe and Crown. Episode Seven: Under Construction.

INT. BAR—AFTERNOON

The outside door opens. Stan hums as he wheels in a barrel of ale on a creaking cart.

STAN

Hey, Gubbin. Look what I got.

GUBBIN

Kid, where the hell you been all afternoon?

STAN

Just at the brewery, picking up a new cask of Pete’s Blue Rabbit Ale!

GUBBIN

Oh no. Stan, what have I told you about sullying my tavern with that stuff? It’s so bad, even my regulars won’t touch it.

STAN

People love Pete’s!

GUBBIN

Your poetry-reading loser friends love it. More to the point, it’s what your new crush always orders.

STAN

Hey, hey. She’s not my crush.

GUBBIN

“Oh, she’s so dark and mysterious, like the night!”

STAN

Also Pete’s is cheap. Which equals bigger margins, which equals more money!

GUBBIN

Yeah, yeah. Grab an apron. It’s about to get busy in here.

STAN

Sure is! Did you see how many people are working that new construction site? And they’re gonna be good and thirsty coming off their shift.

GUBBIN

Not thirsty enough to drink Pete’s Blue Rabbit.

STAN

Oh yeah? I’ll bet I can sell half this cask before we close tonight.

GUBBIN

You’re on. Oh, here they come.

The door swings open. A handful of workers enter, talking loudly, and sit around the tables.

STAN

Good afternoon, folks! Can I get you a beer? We’ve got a special tonight. Half a crown for a pitcher of Pete’s Blue—

(he realizes who it is)

GUBBIN

Oh no.

BETULA

(loudly, for Gubbin’s benefit)

What? We’re coming here for drinks? To this dump? Oh, hey.

STAN

Betula.

BETULA

Stan. Hi!

GUBBIN

Uh… I’ll be over here.

He retreats to the other end of the bar while Stan and Betula talk.

CUSTOMER

Hey, can we get a couple of beers?

STAN

So you’re back.

BETULA

Yeah. Turns out I’m working just across the street now. Crazy, right?

STAN

Yeah. Crazy.

CUSTOMER

Hello?

STAN

So you’re on the construction site?

BETULA

Yup. Meet the newest member of the Builders and Bricklayers’ Guild.

STAN

Really? You got into the Guild? Hey, congrats.

BETULA

Yeah, thanks. Lots of new building starting up lately, so they’ve been hiring like crazy. I just started my apprenticeship there this week.

STAN

I always knew you could do it.

BETULA

Thanks Stan.

CUSTOMER

Can we get a couple of beers over here?

BETULA

Things going well here?

STAN

Oh yeah, yeah. It’s good, it’s good. We’re getting more bands in on Fridays and Saturdays. Oh, and I started taking a correspondence course in business management.

BETULA

Oh hey, good for you.

STAN

And Gubbin’s… you know. He’s himself.

BETULA

I know.

STAN

You want a drink?

BETULA

Yeah, actually.

STAN

We’ve got a special on Pete’s Blue Rabbit.

BETULA

Oh… no thanks.

(to Gubbin)

Oh, barkeep…!

GUBBIN

Yeah?

CUSTOMER

Uh, hello, we were next.

GUBBIN

What are you doing here?

BETULA

Just stopping in at the local for a beer with my friends from work.

GUBBIN

Uh huh? You gonna pay for that beer?

BETULA

Yes.

GUBBIN

With real money?

BETULA

Yep. I got a steady job now, see.

GUBBIN

Aren’t we special.

BETULA

Yeah, we are. See? Genuine Farlorian.

Betula slaps a coin on the bar.

GUBBIN

Sure.

BETULA

I’ll have a pint of your finest dishwater, please.

GUBBIN

You watch your language, young lady.

Gubbin starts pouring a beer.

BETULA

Ooh, wait. Can you make it a Golden Goose instead? You know, with the little umbrella and everything?

GUBBIN

In your dreams.

BETULA

I’ll give you a good tip!

GUBBIN

Here’s your beer. Get your own damn umbrella.

BETULA

Got anything to eat?

GUBBIN

You know we don’t.

STAN

The kitchen’s back to being closed again.

BETULA

I figured.

GUBBIN

So. What’s this thing they got you guys building across the street?

BETULA

We’re converting the old warehouse. Marco the foreman said it was gonna be some kind of pub.

GUBBIN

A pub.

STAN

Ooh, competition. Exciting!

BETULA

Yeah. It’s supposed to be called the Badger and Bucket.

STAN

Really!

GUBBIN

Tell me you didn’t just say “Bucket”.

BETULA

Yeah, why?

Gubbin goes to the window and yanks the curtain open.

CUSTOMER

Come on! What do we gotta do to get some service?

GUBBIN

“Future home of the Badger and—” Oh, great. First the mob, now you’re working for a Bucket Pub.

STAN

What’s wrong with Bucket Pubs?

BETULA

Yeah. It’s just a pub, isn’t it?

GUBBIN

Damn things are everywhere now. The Horse and Bucket, the Walrus and Bucket, Ye Olde Bucket O’ Hooch…

BETULA

All owned by the same people?

GUBBIN

Nah. They do this weird fealty thing.

STAN

It’s pretty neat, actually. We’re doing a module on it later in my course.

GUBBIN

A “module”?

STAN

See, anyone can open a Bucket Pub, as long as they swear allegiance to the Bucket Lords and do everything by the book… They’re not actual lords, by the way. That’s just the name of their company.

BETULA

Ah.

GUBBIN

So they all got the same menu, the same decorations, the same signs with those stupid pictures…

STAN

Hey, I love their sign! Heh. It’s funny because the badger looks like he’s throwing up in the bucket, do you see that?

GUBBIN

Oughta be a law against those places.

BETULA

Why?

GUBBIN

They’re fake. They’re supposed to look like a real dive, the kind of place your average well-to-do lady or gentleman would be afraid to set foot in. But inside they’re all nice and clean, not a spot on the silverware…

BETULA

Gosh, that sounds just terrible.

STAN

I know, right? Clean, and friendly, and you know you’re gonna get what you expect.

GUBBIN

You should hate them! You with all your authentic real-life Mud Street crap.

STAN

It’s a smart business model. But I mean, yeah, I think people will see the difference and come to a place that has real heart, real soul…

BETULA

Real dirty tankards.

GUBBIN

Say, why don’t you go party with your new “colleagues” over there?

BETULA

Fine.

Betula picks up her beer and moves off.

CUSTOMER

Hello! Barkeep!

GUBBIN

So. We got competition.

STAN

Yeah. I guess we’re going to have to start improving this place. Keeping up with the Bucket Lords, right?

GUBBIN

Right. I know what we can do.

STAN

That’s the spirit, Gubbin. Competition fosters innovation and creativity.

GUBBIN

True enough. True enough. Stan, you know those buddies of yours painted our sign?

STAN

Yeah, sure, why?

GUBBIN

Got a little project for them.

STAN

Okay, I’ll let them know.

(beat)

Gubbin?

GUBBIN

Yeah, Stan.

STAN

I guess I really don’t know much about trolls.

GUBBIN

What do you want, a book?

STAN

Do you think Betula likes me?

GUBBIN

She hasn’t killed you yet.

STAN

Yeah, okay, I know, but seriously.

GUBBIN

Oh, you mean, does she like you in that way.

STAN

Yes.

GUBBIN

That flowers and candy kind of way.

STAN

Yes.

GUBBIN

That romantic, boy-meets-girl, kissy-kissy kind of… ugh, never mind.

STAN

Gubbin.

GUBBIN

Look, you wanna know what she’s feeling deep down, you gotta ask her.

STAN

You’re a troll, she’s a troll, I thought you might—

GUBBIN

She’s a troll woman. Not really my field of expertise.

STAN

Well, okay, but…

GUBBIN

Ask her. That’s how troll courtship starts. One person or the other comes up and says, “I want to court you.”

STAN

Really? That’s it?

GUBBIN

Yeah.

STAN

And if she says no?

GUBBIN

Then she says no. That’s it. Easy.

STAN

Easy!

GUBBIN

Now, if she says yes… then it gets complicated.

STAN

How so?

GUBBIN

There’s tests and trials… It’s probably gonna end in tears or major injury, but whatever. You go for it.

STAN

Just ask.

GUBBIN

Yup.

STAN

All right! Thanks Gubbin.

GUBBIN

Uh huh.

(under his breath)

Help! Help! I’m a tender little flower! Don’t hurt me!

(makes squishing noises)

STAN

You missed her too, didn’t you.

GUBBIN

Eh.

CUSTOMER

Excuse me! Can we get two beers?!

GUBBIN

Shut your goddamn pie hole, I’m coming.

STAN

“Hi Betula! I want to court you.” “Hi, Betula—” I’ll work on it.

MUSIC STING

INT. BAR—LATER

BETULA

Hey Stan. What do I owe?

STAN

Oh, it’s on the house.

BETULA

No.

STAN

Yes! Welcome back.

BETULA

Aww, you’re the best.

STAN

Hey, listen, I… want to ask you. Did you… did you go anywhere interesting?

BETULA

Interesting?

STAN

Yeah. After you ran away. Did you head east, like you were planning to?

BETULA

Mostly I’ve just been here in Grandville.

STAN

You were here? All this time?

BETULA

Yeah.

STAN

You didn’t come back to visit?

BETULA

Well, after that little argument with Uncle…

STAN

Right. No. Right. Say no more.

(beat)

It’s just that, well, you know. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought that maybe there might be a chance of you and me being, like, a thing.

BETULA

A “thing”.

STAN

Yeah.

BETULA

Uh… what kind of thing?

STAN

It’s an expression, you know, I want to… uh…

BETULA

You want to be a thing.

STAN

Yes. Yes.

BETULA

You mean, turning into a thing? That sounds more like a curse.

STAN

No, not like that. Ha ha, I mean, hopefully not! I just want to—

BETULA

I’m just confused. So we’re trying not to turn into things?

STAN

No, no. A thing.

BETULA

Both of us… turning into one thing. Like, merging?

STAN

I mean… yeah. Poetically, that’s nice. Kind of. Sort of, yeah.

BETULA

No, no. That sounds frightening.

STAN

Yeah. No. But that kind of thing. Both of us, together. In a romantic way.

BETULA

Oh, okay. Romantic… as in marriage.

STAN

Well, not right away! But, you know…

BETULA

Oh.

STAN

In the sense of a chain of events that might one day culminate in…

BETULA

Oh. You and me.

STAN

Sure.

BETULA

Marriage.

STAN

Well.

Betula starts laughing. Stan laughs along with her, until she eventually stops herself.

BETULA

Sorry, sorry. It’s just—you thought we were a “thing”?

STAN

No! No! I thought that maybe you thought that.

BETULA

Oh! Really? Did I say something?

STAN

I dunno, it was more just a feeling. I mean, trolls and humans, there’s bound to be some…

BETULA

Misunderstandings.

STAN

Yes. Exactly.

BETULA

Well, for the record, if I wanted to court, I’d have said so.

STAN

Okay, that’s good. That’s very, very clear.

BETULA

‘Cause you and me, we’re friends.

STAN

Right. Yes. Thank you.

BETULA

You’re my little human buddy. You’re all cute and squishy, you’re always super nice and help me out with everything.

STAN

Yeah, that’s—exactly. I mean, I try.

BETULA

Gods, I hope you weren’t pining for me all this time.

STAN

Me? Naw. I’m good. I totally have a girlfriend and everything…

BETULA

You do? Oh, I’m glad! What’s she like?

STAN

Oh, she’s a poet, you know… very dark and brooding.

BETULA

That sounds like quite a match.

STAN

Yeah.

BETULA

Well, tell her she’d better not let you down. Eh?

STAN

Okay.

BETULA

No one hurts my little buddy.

STAN

Thanks.

BETULA

Well, I should, uh… I should get going. Gotta be back across the street in the morning. Thanks for the beer, huh? I’ll see you tomorrow.

STAN

Yeah, you’re welcome. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Betula heads out with some of her co-workers.

GUBBIN

You all right, kid?

STAN

Permission to go and die in a corner, sir?

GUBBIN

Well, like I say, it’s probably better than if she said yes.

STAN

Better how?

GUBBIN

Troll courtship gets complicated. The lady’s supposed to name a big test or trial for her suitor before he can win her hand.

STAN

What kind of trials?

GUBBIN

Could be a quest, could be a riddle, could be “build a house”. Depends oh what she’s after.

STAN

So is it different for guys? Did you make Johann do a big test?

GUBBIN

Nah.

STAN

No, wait. Which one of you was, you know, the lady?

GUBBIN

None of us was the lady. Though I guess I did kind of challenge him to learn to cook troll food…

STAN

Ah! So you were the lady.

GUBBIN

Eh, fair enough.

STAN

Awww, that’s sweet.

GUBBIN

No it’s not. Night, Stan.

STAN

Good night, Gubbin.

MUSIC—CLOSING THEME

ANNOUNCER

The Axe & Crown!

Starring Hugo Jones, Art Carlson and Marisa King.

Written and directed by 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.

Wondering what to listen to next? We are huge fans of Greater Boston, set in an imaginary Boston full of weird and wonderful characters. Look it up in your favourite podcast app.