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E8: Cracking Up

Something suspicious is going on across the street, at the future home of the Badger & Bucket.

With special guest Sarah Golding!

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Episode Transcript

INTRO (SEAN)

Hi everyone. This is Sean. We want to say again just how much we are loving all the support that you guys are all giving us. Just a reminder to check out our Patreon page, because you can get early access to all of our episodes, find out how they’re made, and get other fun perks too. You can find out about all of that at patreon.com/albasalix.

Okay, and a quick note: We are super excited to announce that this week’s episode features Sarah Golding, who you can also hear on tons of our favourite shows, like Edict Zero, Wynabego Warrior and A Scottish Podcast. Enjoy!

MUSIC—OPENING THEME

ANNOUNCER

The Axe and Crown. Episode Eight: Cracking Up.

INT. BAR—MORNING

Betula and her crew burst in.

BETULA

Good morning! Ahoy! Barkeep!

GUBBIN

You again.

BETULA

Damn right. Let’s get some beers going here!

GUBBIN

It’s ten in the morning. Shouldn’t you all be, I dunno, working?

BETULA

Nope. The crew just found some big cracks in the foundation this morning, so we had to clear the site. No one goes in until they can get a town building inspector in there.

GUBBIN

Really. Sorry to hear it.

BETULA

But… since it’s circumstances out of our control, we’re still on the clock. Right, boss?

MARCO

That’s right. Guild rules.

Betula slaps a coin down.

BETULA

I’ll get the first round.

A cheer goes up at this.

GUBBIN

Sure thing.

Gubbin starts filling a tankard.

BETULA

Thanks, Uncle.

MARCO

Oh yeah. You two are related, huh?

BETULA

Yup. This is my uncle Gubbin.

GUBBIN

(grunts)

MARCO

Marco. Nice to meet you. So, does that mean you get a family discount here, Betula?

GUBBIN AND BETULA

Nope.

GUBBIN

She’s lucky I’m not throwing her out on her pointy ear. You the foreman over there?

MARCO

Yeah. I’m Betula’s boss.

GUBBIN

You poor bastard. Sure you don’t want something stronger?

MARCO

So, it must come from the other side of the family, huh? The size?

GUBBIN

Nah, troll women are just bigger.

Gubbin passes him a tankard of beer.

MARCO

Ah, I gotcha. Well, we’re glad to have her. Though she better be careful she doesn’t work too hard, and make us little guys look bad.

GUBBIN

Aah, I wouldn’t be too worried.

BETULA

Watch it, Uncle.

MUSIC STING

INT. BAR—LATER

MARCO

And the priest says, “Well, see if I buy an altar from those guys again!”

Laughter. Stan enters.

STAN

Morning, Gubbin!

GUBBIN

Hey, bunny boy! Stan!

STAN

Hey, what’s everyone doing over here? It’s not even lunchtime.

GUBBIN

They’re having some safety concerns over at the construction site.

STAN

Whoa, really?

MARCO

Yeah. Cracks in the foundation. We’re waiting for it to be inspected.

STAN

Aw, man. I guess construction’s gonna be delayed, huh?

MARCO

Yeah, couple days, at least.

STAN

Aw, geez. I guess you can’t be too careful.

MARCO

I know. Might have to file a grievance about this inspector, too. He gave the all clear for this project a month ago, and then we suddenly discover cracks?

GUBBIN

Well, can’t say I blame him too much for not looking closer. There were squatters living in there for years.

MARCO

Yeah, we know.

GUBBIN

Did a whooole lot of squatting, if you know what I mean.

MARCO

Yeah. We know.

GUBBIN

But you know the real problem, it’s the river. The street floods every spring.

STAN

That’s why they call it Mud Street!

GUBBIN

It’s always washing away the ground from under you, and you better have good footings under your building, or one day—down it goes, like a drunken centaur. Whump! Ever seen a centaur go down? Oh, man! It ain’t pretty.

The door opens, and Dorothea enters. A hush falls.

MARCO

Oh no.

STAN

What’s going on? Who’s this?

MARCO

That’s the big boss. Dorothea Dannery.

STAN

Oh! The Badger and Bucket lady?

MARCO

Yeah, her.

DOROTHEA

Mister Krabchov.

MARCO

Mrs Dannery.

DOROTHEA

I see your crew are enjoying their down time.

MARCO

Guild rules. We can’t go back to work, and the town inspector’s probably gonna be a couple of days—

DOROTHEA

Oh, the inspector just stopped by!

MARCO

What?

GUBBIN

How the hell did you manage that?

DOROTHEA

Well, it helps to be nice to the good folks at the town hall, and get all your papers in on time.

GUBBIN

You mean those funny little papers with pictures of the king on ‘em?

DOROTHEA

Anyway, the inspector has declared our building perfectly sound.

MARCO

But… the foundation…

DOROTHEA

It turns out those weren’t actually cracks. No. Someone painted them on the walls.

GUBBIN

Painted! You sure?

DOROTHEA

Oh yes. It was still wet in places, even. Now, who would do such a thing? Hm?

GUBBIN

Could have been anyone.

STAN

Wait a minute…

DOROTHEA

Mister Gurvasson, isn’t it? Lovely tavern, by the way. Very rustic, very down‐to‐earth.

GUBBIN

Uh huh.

DOROTHEA

Any idea who might want to delay our construction, Mister Gurvasson?

GUBBIN

We at the Axe and Crown welcome new businesses to the neighbourhood. Competition fosters innovation and creativity.

DOROTHEA

Oh, well said, Mister Gurvasson. It sounds like we have much in common.

GUBBIN

Sure.

DOROTHEA

All right, everyone. Unfortunately, we’re on a schedule and it seems you’re all in no state to return to work.

MARCO

We didn’t figure the inspector would be out the same day.

DOROTHEA

And unless I’m seriously misreading our contract with the Builders and Bricklayers’ Guild… I’m afraid that means you’re all docked a full day’s pay.

Muttering and grumbling. A couple of shouts of “What!”

DOROTHEA (CONT’D)

And, well, I’m not pointing any fingers, but if it turned out that someone on this crew had painted those cracks, I hope the Guild would take appropriate steps.

MARCO

Nobody on my crew would ever do such a thing.

Consternation amongst the crew. “What about the troll?” “Yeah!”

BETULA

What about “the troll”? You think I had something to do with this?

The crew retreat. “Nothing’s wrong with trolls, really…” “My dentist is a troll.”

DOROTHEA

My, look at you. What’s your name, dear?

BETULA

Betula. Anna Betula Erfydsdottir.

DOROTHEA

Any relation to Mister Gurvasson?

BETULA

What, just because we’re both trolls, you think we’re related?

MARCO

She’s his niece.

BETULA

Oh, thanks.

DOROTHEA

I see. And how long have you been with the Guild?

BETULA

Two days.

DOROTHEA

Really! How interesting.

MARCO

She’s just apprenticing. This is her first job with the Guild.

DOROTHEA

You didn’t look into her background?

BETULA

What background?

MARCO

She had a letter of reference from Stanway Gerrard—that’s Carlton Gerrard’s kid. Doesn’t get much bigger than that in this business.

DOROTHEA

You know that the young Mister Gerrard was all but disowned by his father.

MARCO

Uh…

DOROTHEA

Yes, the only thing he inherited was this tavern.

MARCO

You’re kidding. This place?

DOROTHEA

Yes. In fact… that’s him right there.

STAN

Uh, hi!

MARCO

What? That’s Stanway Gerrard?

DOROTHEA

Well, I’d say it’s fairly obvious how this all played out. Mister Krabchov, it sounds like your Guild has been duped by a scheming landlord and tavernkeeper into hiring a saboteur.

STAN

Scheming—wait, you mean me? Why would I want to sabotage…

BETULA

I had nothing to do with this! You can’t just assume because we’re related…

DOROTHEA

I’d say the evidence is quite conclusive.

BETULA

I’d say my fist punching your face through the back of your head will be “quite conclusive”.

STAN

Whoa, whoa! Betula!

DOROTHEA

Mister Krabchov?

MARCO

Yeah, we, uh… the Grandville Guild of Builders and Bricklayers extends its sincere apologies for this incident, and wishes it known that Miss Betula Erfydsdottir is no longer in our employ.

BETULA

Marco. You know I didn’t do it.

MARCO

You just threatened to punch our client!

BETULA

She deserved it!

DOROTHEA

Well, now! As lovely as this has been, I’d best get back to the office. Oh, silly me. I almost forgot! This fellow asked me to deliver this.

She unfolds a piece of paper.

GUBBIN

What fellow?

DOROTHEA

“Bulletin from the Royal Building Inspector, County Grandville… all buildings between Harbour Street and the river’s edge require immediate inspection to ensure the soundness of their foundations, and must be closed to the public effective immediately.”

GUBBIN

What?! Where’s this Inspector?

DOROTHEA

Oh, now I’m afraid he’s long gone. He’s such a busy fellow, you know. You’ll have to go to the town hall. Let’s see here… “Request for inspection may be filed, dah dah dah… inspection will take place four to six weeks after booking.”

STAN

Four to six weeks?!

DOROTHEA

I know. The bureaucracy in this town is simply unbearable. I’m so glad our building’s already been declared sound. Yes, twice over, now! I suppose this emergency inspection today was something of a blessing in disguise, wasn’t it?

(to the workers)

I’m so sorry, everyone. You’re going to have to evacuate this tavern.

STAN

Wait!

GUBBIN

Gods dammit.

The grumbling workers head for the door.

DOROTHEA

In the meantime, I have some vouchers! Yes, they’re good for fifteen percent off drinks and lodging at the Flounder and Bucket…

GUBBIN

Oh, don’t you dare.

DOROTHEA

Or the Buck and Bucket on Saddlehorn Lane.

BETULA

Go on, get out of here, you phoney cow.

DOROTHEA

But do drink responsibly! We need you all back on site and ready to work at eight‐thirty tomorrow morning. Right, Mister Krabchov?

MARCO

Yes, Ma’am.

DOROTHEA

Have a lovely day. Ta ta!

Dorothea leaves. The workers all start to shuffle out.

GUBBIN

All right. Now it’s war.

MARCO

Well, so long, Betula. Gubbin. Thanks for nothin’.

He leaves too. The door slams.

STAN

I can’t believe it.

GUBBIN

What? Don’t look at me.

BETULA

You lost me my job. You and your “war.”

GUBBIN

It’s her! It’s that woman, Dorothea. Trying to open up a Bucket pub on our street!

BETULA

Yeah, across from a tavern run by a lunatic.

GUBBIN

We’re gonna show her.

BETULA

So. When you reopen…

STAN

If we ever reopen.

BETULA

Yeah. Think you’ll need a cook?

GUBBIN

(beat)

Yeah, you know any?

MUSIC—CLOSING THEME

ANNOUNCER

The Axe & Crown!

Starring Hugo Jones, Art Carlson and Marisa King, with special guest Sarah Golding.

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.

Looking for more laughs? We’re ever so fond of Wooden Overcoats, a delightful sitcom about rival undertakers in the English Channel. You can find it wherever you listen to podcasts. Until next week—cheers!