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A note on Grover’s Mill

Grovers Mill is a community that was initially made famous in Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, where it was depicted as the epicenter of a Martian invasion, on October 30 of that year. There have been numerous references in fiction, including The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, the Wild Cards book series, and a town called Miller’s Grove in The X-Files episode “War of the Coprophages”. In issue 11 of DC Comics’ The Shadow Strikes (1989), The Shadow teams up with a radio announcer named Grover Mills, a character based on the young Orson Welles, who has been impersonating The Shadow on the radio. Welles played the Shadow on radio prior to the War of the Worlds broadcast. An episode of the War of the Worlds TV series takes place in Grover’s Mill on the 50th anniversary of the Welles radio drama, and expands on the town’s ties to the infamous broadcast. (Wikipedia 2018). Grover’s Mill Podcast is a podcast put together by a team of passionate people from all around the world. It has been two years in the making and is meant to be a form of entertainment. It has taken the spirit of the great works before it. It is a fictional podcast, that is shared with you as a satire and parody. The Podcast references familiar people, places, locations, pop-culture, historical points of interest and social settings to give context to the story for the purpose of conveying its satirical nature. The events, conversations and occurrences depicted in the Podcast were conceived by the Producers of the Podcast, and as far as the Producers are aware, they did not actually occur. Additionally, we have used some real-life personalities. However, the characteristics, qualities and actions that we have applied to those people are not meant to be real, and were conceived for the sole purpose of conveying and giving life to the Grover’s Mill story. To the extent permissible, in no event shall the Producers be liable for any damage, loss, harm, cost, disruption or confusion that arises as a result of listening to or engaging with the Grover’s Mill Podcast.

Epsiode 1 Transcription – What happened to Rodney?

*Note to reader. This is a fictional satirical podcast designed with parody for comedic purposes only-see our disclaimer on the website for more information.

Speaker:                       Hi just a quick warning that the following episodes contains adult content and themes that some people may find offensive. Listener discretion is advised.

Mr. Poe:                       The story and events you’re about to hear unfold over the next few weeks are going to sound crazy, unbelievable. It won’t even make sense, but how often does life make sense? So, what is this story? What are these events?

Mr. Poe:                       Well, to answer that, we have to go to a town called Grover’s Mill, and a case of a missing person, Rodney [Meelog 00:00:33]. But first I’m going to play you a recording of a statement I gave back in 2004 to the Metropolitan Police surrounding the case of a missing girl in Highbury Islington in London.

Officer Stewart:            This interview is being recorded at Islington Police Station in London. It is now Monday, the 4th of December, 2004 at 7:43 p.m. I am DC 3010, Paula Stewart and the other police officer present is …

Offic. Seymour:            DC [inaudible 00:01:12] Seymour, 3819.

Officer Stewart:            We are interviewing a Mr. Wilkie Poe in regards to the missing Barnsbury girl, Tara Walton. So, Mr. Poe, would you mind telling us why you’re here?

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah, sure. I’ve worked with your branch a couple of times before and I’ve always said if I got any signs or signals I’d come down right away.

Officer Stewart:            Right.

Mr. Poe:                       I saw the report on the TV.

Officer Stewart:            The report about Tara?

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah, and as I was watching it I got a strange feeling. You know, cold, very cold.

Officer Stewart:            Was it a particularly cold night? I think I was wearing a jumper that night.

Mr. Poe:                       No, not really. I was inside. Anyway, I got colder and colder, so much so that I blacked out and then I started getting the visions.

Officer Stewart:            Visions? Like you were seeing things?

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah, that’s right. I saw the girl.

Offic. Seymour:            Who, Tara?

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah.

Officer Stewart:            In your vision or in real life?

Mr. Poe:                       In the vision. She was in a longboat on a canal, a blue one moored near some apartments with a wooden façade. She’s okay, but she’s locked in that boat.

Officer Stewart:            Right. So, you got a vision.

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah.

Officer Stewart:            And that vision was of the missing girl and she’s in a boat on a canal somewhere.

Mr. Poe:                       That’s right, so if I were you I’d look for apartment buildings with wooden façades near a canal and check the longboats, maybe.

Officer Stewart:            DC Seymour?

Offic. Seymour:            Yeah, no problem. There’s plenty of police resources to waste to follow every single lead here.

Mr. Poe:                       I’m being serious. Please check it out. I told you, I’ve worked with your branch before.

Officer Stewart:            Is there anything else you want to tell us?

Mr. Poe:                       I know she’s there.

Officer Stewart:            We’ll make a note of it.

Mr. Poe:                       As you heard, it wasn’t easy to convince them at first, but a few days later they found the girl in the boat. They were too late, though. The girl was dead. I bring this up for two reasons. One, this is what I do, and two, I thought this was as upsetting a case would ever get. I’m afraid on the second point, I was painfully wrong.

Mr. Poe:                       So, why me? Why do a podcast? Well, my name is Wilkie Poe and I’m a forensic psychic. Forensic psychics don’t usually get a good rap. As you heard, the police can sometimes be, well, shall we say less than cooperative, on occasion with tragic results.

Mr. Poe:                       I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to show what we do and how we can really help. I’m happy to tell you attitudes are finally changing, and to date I’ve worked on over 150 cases for the police in the UK and the US, and I’ve also been hired by the FBI and Interpol.

Mr. Poe:                       I’ve seen countless crime scenes, read thousands of reports, and along the way I found myself becoming something of a private investigator.

Mr. Poe:                       So, Grover’s Mill. It all started a few months ago when I got a call from a woman named Miranda [Gambisi 00:04:08], who lives in West Windsor, New Jersey. This set off a chain of events that would consume me. As a private investigator, I record all conversations that come into my office. Hello, Wilkie Poe.

Miranda Gambisi:         Hey, Wilkie Poe. The Wilkie Poe? You’re the Poe man?

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah, this is Wilkie Poe. Yes.

Miranda Gambisi:         Well, you got to get down here to Grover’s Mill, find out what happened to young Rodney Meelog.

Mr. Poe:                       At this point I’m not sure what she’s on about, but Miranda goes into a long description of what she sees as an emergency.

Miranda Gambisi:         I’m not saying this is some serial [inaudible 00:04:47] kind of thing, nothing of that nature, but Rodney, he just ain’t around no more.

Miranda Gambisi:         [crosstalk 00:04:51] [inaudible 00:04:51] in with the wrong crowd and then getting tattoos of dolphins on each other and dying his hair blond and all that. But, it ain’t no reason to knock him off. Not that I know that’s what happened, exactly. That’s why I’m calling you.

Mr. Poe:                       Are you saying-

Miranda Gambisi:         Rodney, he damned just right disappeared like that mouse I tried to hit with the iron the other day.

Mr. Poe:                       Okay, hang on. So, you’re saying someone’s gone missing and you’d like my help?

Miranda Gambisi:         Damn right he’s gone missing. He do my hair. He’s not there anymore. My hair’s looking like that water tank down by the old preacher home. You see anything? Getting any visions on that?

Mr. Poe:                       Have the police been notified?

Miranda Gambisi:         Yeah, they’ve been notified, Wilkie. They put it down as maybe a runaway or something, just left his house and gone.

Mr. Poe:                       Right.

Miranda Gambisi:         They’re not too worried, but there are a lot of people who think something else is up. There was blood in his house.

Mr. Poe:                       Sorry, what? There was blood in his house?

Miranda Gambisi:         Yeah, that’s what I just said, Wilkie. Do I need to repeat myself?

Mr. Poe:                       I should point out that I hear things like this all the time and they’re often just figments of people’s imagination, bored townspeople, rumors to keep things interesting. But something about the way Miranda was talking made me think that there was more to this. So, I pressed her further.

Mr. Poe:                       All right, well, what else can you tell me? Do you know, did he have any enemies? Was he involved in anything obscure? Was he married? Did he have a lot of money, do you know? Anything.

Miranda Gambisi:         No, no. He’s been married and all, but a couple of years ago they got divorced. She ended up doing that crazy Crossfit and getting into weird stuff, you know, dressing up like a Japanese school girl kind of thing. People these days.

Miranda Gambisi:         No, no, no. Rodney just lived alone. He weren’t rich or nothing, but he did have that one thing, that damned weird alien thing he said was priceless.

Mr. Poe:                       Alien thing?

Miranda Gambisi:         Yeah. You know, from the movie, the famous movie. Everyone talks about it because of Grover’s Mill.

Mr. Poe:                       I’m not really a movie buff, Miranda. Sorry.

Miranda Gambisi:         Well, he had this never-before-seen alien thing. He says it [inaudible 00:06:43] or somehow, I don’t know, but the guy that made that movie. He was always talking about how special it was, how much money it’s worth. That kind of thing. That be missing, too.

Mr. Poe:                       Right. So, what you’re telling me is the only thing that’s missing, apart from Rodney, is something to do with a film about aliens.

Miranda Gambisi:         Damn right, Wilkie. Damn right. Son, you got to come down here and solve this.

Mr. Poe:                       Look, I can understand you’re worried, but can I just ask you, why did you call me?

Miranda Gambisi:         Well, my cousin Bradley, he live up on [Jeffers 00:07:09] Road. Well, he’s into UFOs and aliens, all that shit, and he likes to think he’s all psychic.

Mr. Poe:                       Right.

Miranda Gambisi:         Huh. He likes to think he can predict what clothes I’m going to wear the next day. He almost always gets that wrong. I ain’t even got no skinny jeans. Anyways, he read some of your books and he’s a fan of your work. He said to give you a call since I’ve been the only one up here thinking this smells a little funny, like JFK. You know what I mean?

Mr. Poe:                       Okay. Well, look, let me think about it and I’ll get back to you. All right? I need to be certain that this is genuine, because I get a lot of prank calls.

Miranda Gambisi:         Well, you do your homework then, Wilkie, then you let me know. You can stay in the room out back here. It’s nice and cozy for y’all.

Mr. Poe:                       Okay. So, there you have it. I start to do some research. It turns out that Grover’s Mill was the setting for Orson Welles’s 1938 radio play, The War of the Worlds. Whether that’s the alien movie that Miranda referred to remains to be seen.

Mr. Poe:                       Suffice it to say, as far as the missing Rodney Meelog is concerned, I find nothing. No reports, no articles, not even a hint that anything untoward happened at Grover’s Mill. So, I put in a call to my longtime friend, Dietrich.

Mr. Poe:                       Now, I can’t tell you his last name. Suffice it to say, he’s Austrian, obviously, and he works in the international information business. We agree to meet in the local pub. As a matter or record, I tape every conversation I have with a hand-held digital recorder.

Dietrich:                      I looked into this Rodney person. There’s not much. Police files were standard, nothing unusual, a couple of admin errors, but nothing serious.

Dietrich:                      I also looked into this Orson Welles thing. It turns out it isn’t an alien artifact or whatever. It’s an original recording that Orson Welles did himself. There had been rumors flying around that it existed, but it never surfaced.

Dietrich:                      Apparently, on the tape Orson goes on a bit of a rant and a new idea for a film emerges from this rant. So, this recording, well, your man has it somehow and he tried to sell it on the Dark Web for almost a million dollars.

Mr. Poe:                       He tried to sell the War of the Worlds thing online?

Dietrich:                      Yeah, yeah, he tried, but the buyers only want to pay half a million. He agrees, but then he changes his mind. The buyer’s not happy. That’s when your man goes quiet.

Mr. Poe:                       Hmm, and the police report … You’re sure there was nothing there?

Dietrich:                      Well, there was one thing, but I just wasn’t sure it was worth pursuing. The blood is Rodney’s blood, but there’s not much. They think that could have bene caused by anything. Interesting fact … Your man, this Rodney, he booked a flight to Costa Rica two weeks before, but he does not get on the plane. Also, I think he has a brother.

Mr. Poe:                       What do you mean you think he has a brother?

Dietrich:                      Yeah, yeah, records are a bit unclear on that.

Mr. Poe:                       Any other family?

Dietrich:                      No, no other family. Just a brother, I think who lives in Maine. His name is Brian Meelog. He’s a lawyer at an air base in Bangor. [inaudible 00:09:53] details.

Mr. Poe:                       Thanks. As soon as I get home I send an email to the address Dietrich gave me of Rodney’s brother. It’s a long shot, but I say I’m interested in trying to help find Rodney. It all sounds a little far-fetched or untrue even, but my instinct is compelling me to solve this thing. If it is a ruse, well, I want to expose it.

Mr. Poe:                       That evening I stay up trying to figure out what could have happened to Rodney. Usually, I need to see photos, visit the scene, and absorb the life of the person in order to receive the right information to solve the case.

Mr. Poe:                       I open the folder Dietrich gave me and flick through it. There are three photos of Rodney. He looks like a nice bloke, about 5′ 10″, blond hair, glasses, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, nice smile. He’s standing outside what I assume is his house, opening the mailbox. I wonder who took this photo and why.

Mr. Poe:                       The next image is one of him in a high school basketball team, standing at the back looking away from the camera. Then, the last image is a photo of him on an old Myspace account. I close my eyes and wait. Nothing comes. This is usually a sign that nothing will come and that I can’t help with the case. I fall asleep thinking I may have to let this one go.

Mr. Poe:                       In the morning I check my emails. Nothing. So, I go for my morning road to clear my head and see if any visions or thoughts come. Again, nothing. Now, at this point this is where I usually let cases go. You can’t force things like this. I get home and I go to ring Miranda, but I see an email come through.

Mr. Poe:                       I open it. It’s from Brian, Rodney’s brother. It simply says, “I am in Grover’s Mill. If you want to help find the truth, come meet me. I can’t say anymore over email,” and that was it.

Mr. Poe:                       I decide that it’s not the case for me, so I write back to Brian. I tell him that I hope they do find his brother and that I’ll forward the details on to some ex-detective buddies of mine in New York, but I say that I can’t personally handle the case, not least because nothing has come to me.

Mr. Poe:                       I wait a couple of hours for a reply, but nothing comes, so I head to watch the football with my pal, Mike. Mike, by coincidence, is an Orson Welles nut, so at halftime at the bar I talk to him about the case. As usual, I record the conversation.

Mr. Poe:                       So, they think this guy might have some unreleased recording of Orson Welles from War of the Worlds or something and that’s why he’s gone missing. I mean, it sounds totally ridiculous to me. There’s a million other more logical reasons for people going missing. Do you know anything about it?

MIke:                           That recording thing?

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah.

MIke:                           No, not really, and having said that, I was talking to this one guy last year about some stuff …

PART 1 OF 3 ENDS [00:13:04]

MIke:                           Really? Oh no, having said that, I was talking to this one guy last year about some stuff, a guy named Keith Burnsad, apparently was a friend of [inaudible 00:13:07] and he had these manuscripts and continuity notes and stuff and he said, “There was some recordings.” Film ideas mostly so I wonder if it’s got something to do with that.

Mr. Poe:                       Could be. But would it really be worth a million dollars or enough to kidnap or kill someone?

MIke:                           Could be, I suppose. Depends what it is and who’s buying. I don’t know. Do you want me to ask around?

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah. No, no, drop the case. I don’t think I can help.

MIke:                           Fair enough. Does that mean you can turn that thing off now, we can go back to the game?

Mr. Poe:                       Mike and I get back to the game. We lose on penalties, by the way.

Mr. Poe:                       I check my phone and notice there’s an email from Brian. Apart from his understandable disappointment, he attaches two photos for me. One is black and white, and is of a middle-aged man in uniform. US Air Force, I think. Standing next to none other than Orson Welles. It could be the 1960s, I’m guessing. The other is a press clipping of a woman holding onto a winning Lotto America ticket. It’s then that I suddenly start feeling nauseous. I would describe the sensation as acid reflux, with a headache chaser.

Mr. Poe:                       I close my eyes and I see an image of Rodney in a car, talking to someone. I can’t make out who it is, but they’re talking. Then the car stops, and a worried look comes over Rodney’s face. Water fills the car. He starts drowning. I email Brian straightaway.

Mr. Poe:                       I’m in.

Mr. Poe:                       So here I am at Newark Liberty Airport after a delay, but otherwise uneventful flight from Heathrow. I’ve gotta admit, agreeing to meet Brian feels like a major spur of the moment decision, but the vision I got was a strong one, so here I am. Now Brian offered to pick me up and he said he’d be wearing black jeans and a New England Patriots cap. And that might be him now.

Mr. Poe:                       Are you Brian? I’m Willkie, hi.

Brian:                           Oh, hey.

Mr. Poe:                       Brian is much younger than I had imagined. We walked to an old yellow VW Beetle and get in.

Brian:                           Sorry for the group dick email, I just don’t trust anyone these days. I needed to know for sure you were the real deal.

Mr. Poe:                       Are you okay if I record this?

Brian:                           Sure. As long as you don’t show my face.

Mr. Poe:                       No, it’s only audio.

Brian:                           Do you mind if I put on some music?

Mr. Poe:                       Sure. Whatever.

Mr. Poe:                       Brian plays a song I haven’t heard before. I can’t help thinking it’s not the song choice I was expecting.

Mr. Poe:                       So, tell me about the [inaudible 00:16:21].

Brian:                           Oh, we both grew up in Portland, Maine, where I used to live. But when our parents got divorced, I was eight and Rodney was 14. Rodney moved in with our mom, that’s when we kind of did our own thing, took different paths on. I don’t like talking about this, ’cause it’s like he’s gone and like, I know he’s gone somewhere but I don’t think he’s dead. Rather just find him and put this mess behind us.

Mr. Poe:                       Brian seems agitated and morose. I guess I would be too, if my brother just vanished. Brian continues to tell me about their childhood, about how they had to swap parents every two weeks and that they were never in the same house again after the divorce. About how their interests were different. Brian wanted to join the military and Rodney was a bit of a drop-out and eventually did hairdressing. They talked probably every couple of months and soon with Rodney wanting to get out of his hometown, he moved to Grovers Mill in 2001. Brian says he visited twice, but then got caught up with his own life and once Rodney was married, they lost contact.

Brian:                           Yeah, our lives just changed. I did what I did, he did what he did. I think he wanted to have kids, that was the saddest part. His wife, she never wanted to.

Mr. Poe:                       At this point, we reached the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Princeton. Even though Miranda kindly offered to put me up, it seems inappropriate somehow. I’d call her once we checked in though. Brian and I agree to meet for breakfast. Pay a visit to Miranda and then drive past Rodney’s house. We’d heard reports that the house was sealed while the investigation was in progress. But Brian seemed to think we could get around that somehow. How we would do that, I had no idea.

Mr. Poe:                       I meet Brian early the next morning and we grab a coffee at the Grovers Mill coffee company in Princeton. Brian seems overly enthusiastic and has a glint in his eye.

Brian:                           So, change of plans, Willkie.

Mr. Poe:                       Hey? Aren’t we going to see Miranda?

Brian:                           Later. First we’re gonna meet up with Benji, Rodney’s co-worker. Rodney apparently always left a key with him, so if I figure, we get the key, then go do some snooping, see if we get some visions, right?

Mr. Poe:                       But, Brian, you’re a lawyer. Surely you know that’s illegal?

Brian:                           Oh, I’m a jack with the international guard. I plead ignorance. Well, at least I think I do.

Mr. Poe:                       Right, so at this juncture, I’m starting to get a little bit concerned. It’s not legal to enter a property that’s been sealed. And part of me, the inquisitive rebellious part, wants to get into Rodney’s house. I figure that as he’s his brother, well, then there must be some legal grounds. And then I quickly dismiss this as foolish.

Mr. Poe:                       I’m not sure, Brian.

Brian:                           Okay, let’s go talk to Benji, least and see.

Mr. Poe:                       So I agree to go and talk to Benji and hope he doesn’t have a key. We drive along the winding road through Princeton into the heart of Grovers Mill. And we pull up outside a hair salon.

Brian:                           Are you ready?

Mr. Poe:                       Let’s do this.

Mr. Poe:                       Hello? Hello?

Mr. Poe:                       It’s early, and there are no customers yet. A man approaches us.

Benji:                           Morning gents. Here for a cut?

Mr. Poe:                       He looked like a pumped-up, steroid-taking gym bunny with tattoos, short-cropped hair, and a neatly manicured beard. We walk up, shake hands, and Brian gets straight to it.

Brian:                           We’re here to see Benji.

Benji:                           I am Benji.

Brian:                           Oh hey, Benji, I’m Brian. Rodney’s brother. And this is Willkie, a forensic psychic.

Mr. Poe:                       Hi.

Benji:                           Okay.

Brian:                           We wanted to get into Rodney’s house to see if we can get anything of interest. Wow. Your arms are huge, man, how much do you press?

Benji:                           I don’t know.

Brian:                           Okay. Well, I heard Rodney left you a key.

Benji:                           Uh-huh.

Brian:                           Do you have a key?

Benji:                           I do.

Mr. Poe:                       Look, if you’re uncomfortable, it’s okay. We can go.

Benji:                           No, it’s cool, I guess.

Brian:                           Could we have the key, Benji?

Benji:                           You gonna tell the police?

Brian:                           No, we just wanna get in and out.

Benji:                           Well, it okay by them?

Mr. Poe:                       Benji’s right, we shouldn’t do this. Thanks for your time.

Brian:                           No, he’s my brother. We can’t leave him out there wherever he is. He might be tied up. He could be in a basement with no heating. He could be getting a finger chopped off by the Yakuza.

Benji:                           Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Look, seems to me like a relation reserves the right to investigate the whereabouts of kin, given the moral imperative to ensure that kin is okay. And once that is established, some normality may be able to be restored to all those involved.

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah.

Benji:                           Which begs the question, if the moral imperative does in fact overrule the social and criminal one, and in this case, it would appear to me that given we are not in a court of law, but are of certain mind and body, and given the appropriate authorities have had enough time to properly deal with this matter, and failed to do so, that there is no choice for me other than to give you the key. So here you are.

Mr. Poe:                       What Benji just said kind of came out of nowhere. I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or if it was something he just did or if it was real and he meant it. In any case, he handed me the key. And in that moment, I knew I’d crossed a line. But part of me didn’t care. Because a bigger part of me wanted to get into that house.

Mr. Poe:                       Is there anything else you can tell us about Rodney’s disappearance?

Benji:                           Well, sometimes, a man can be more than one person, if you know what I mean.

Mr. Poe:                       No, what do you mean?

Benji:                           I’m just saying gentlemen; man, we are complicated creatures. We have the shadow. We live in it, and out of it. And well, don’t judge a book by its cover.

Mr. Poe:                       Okay.

Benji:                           Rodney’s a special human being, right. We’re all special and unique.

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah, sure.

Benji:                           That’s all I’m saying. Okay?

Mr. Poe:                       Okay.

Mr. Poe:                       We get back to the car and drive through Grovers Mill, past the shops, the town, the people. And I wonder what Orson Welles would make of all this now. What would he think about this mystery that had crept into the town he apparently chose at random to be the setting of his famous radio play? I kind of feel like an invader myself. An alien of sorts, coming to this town with different intentions.

Mr. Poe:                       Rodney’s street is a beautiful, tree-lined road with two-story houses on either side. We reach the end of the street where we see a house, hidden by trees and foliage. This is Rodney’s house.

Brian:                           So, this is it.

Mr. Poe:                       As Brian walks up to the front door, someone else comes out of it. We’re both taken aback. And then realize, it’s two police officers. They’re reinforcing some police tape before spotting us.

Sergeant Ellory:            Can I help you?

Brian:                           Oh, hi. I’m Brian Meelog, Rodney Meelog’s brother. I just wanted to come to the house to get a few things.

Sergeant Ellory:            Sorry, sir, it’s off-limits until the scene is cleared. Right now, I can’t let anyone in.

Mr. Poe:                       Is there a reason it’s off limits?

Mr. Poe:                       At this point, the female officer takes over.

Captain Nancy D:          I’ll take it from here, Sergeant. Sir, I’m gonna ask you to go on your way.

Mr. Poe:                       I’m just a friend trying to help out. Can I ask who you guys are?

Captain Nancy D:          I’m Captain Nancy Dearmore and this is Sergeant Ellory. And you are?

Mr. Poe:                       I’m a friend.

Captain Nancy D:          Well, I’m sorry, you’ll have to be on your way.

Mr. Poe:                       We just wanna look around. I mean, this is Rodney’s brother.

Captain Nancy D:          I understand that, sir. We all wanna do a lot of things.

Sergeant Ellory:            Yeah, lot of strange things, right?

Captain Nancy D:          Right.

Sergeant Ellory:            Sometimes, they don’t make a lot of sense, you know? You can step over the line, right?

Captain Nancy D:          Right. At ease, sergeant. So sir, we can’t let anyone in. Family or not.

Mr. Poe:                       Oh, shit. What is going on? You don’t seal a scene for a missing person, do ya?

Brian:                           You’re the detective.

Mr. Poe:                       Psychic, Brian.

Brian:                           So are you getting anything?

Mr. Poe:                       No. I need to be in the house.

Brian:                           Well, let’s come back later. They can’t be on duty all night.

Mr. Poe:                       Brian and I drive off and decide that we’ll come back at night. I call Miranda and she asks us to come over for lunch.

Miranda:                      Wa-hey, y’all. About time. Come in. We be eating out the back.

Mr. Poe:                       We head out the back. And see a rustic table set with platters of barbecued meats and corn. Miranda’s husband, Dirk, sits at the table. He’s a small man, in his early 70s and has withering tattoos on each arm. He gets up to greet us.

Dirk:                             Pleased to meet ya, Mr Poe.

Mr. Poe:                       Willkie, please. And likewise. Thanks for having us.

Dirk:                             Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Miranda:                      So you guys found Rodney yet?

Mr. Poe:                       Miranda doesn’t waste any time getting to the point.

Brian:                           Not yet, but we’re working on it.

Miranda:                      He’s a good kid, ya know. I’m hoping he’s just tied up in some hotel in Vegas in some closet, you know? That his trip gone wrong, that he’s just gonna wake up and walk out in the street in his underpants and give us a goddamn call. Goddamn right now.

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah, let’s hope so.

Dirk:                             He be a good, good kid all right.

Brian:                           Well, that would be good. Great. Just wanna find him.

Dirk:                             Yep. That would be good.

Mr. Poe:                       There’s something about the way Dirk is peering at Brian that unsettles me.

Mr. Poe:                       Can I ask what you guys think happened?

Miranda:                      I near told you, Willkie, we just don’t know. Nothing ever happens in this town. We be quiet types, all I’s can guess is that Rodney got messed up in some kind of wrong thing. Not that there be many wrong things be caught up in down here, you know? I mean, I saw him on the Saturday, he did my foils, damn good at it too, that Rodney. I heard now I look like a poodle.

Dirk:                             She got that bark too.

Miranda:                      Dirk, baby, oh stop it. In a ways, I think, either that ex-wife, she be involved in it somehow, like maybe insurance or something. Might have something to do with that alien thing.

Brian:                           It’s a recording. A tape recording. Not an alien.

Miranda:                      Well, it still sounds odd to me. Whatever it was, we know it missing and we know it’s worth a lot of money.

Mr. Poe:                       Yes, how do you know it’s missing Miranda? I’ve been meaning-

PART 2 OF 3 ENDS [00:26:04]

Miranda:                      We know it’s worth a lot of money.

Mr. Poe:                       How do you know it’s missing, Miranda? I’ve been meaning to ask.

Miranda:                      Well, look at you, Willkie Poe, as I live and breath, finally, in my house. You look older than you sounded on the phone.

Mr. Poe:                       There’s an awkward pause, and then Dirk utters something, which catches both Brian’s and my attention.

Dirk:                             Smart Dog will know.

Brian Meelog:               Who?

Dirk:                             Smart Dog. He’s the last person to see him around.

Miranda:                      Well, that is kinda true, but the kid’s some kind of big rapper, always telling tall stories.

Mr. Poe:                       This Smart Dog, where can we find him?

Miranda:                      Travis? Well, he be hanging out near Harrison Street, on the corner, most days, talking garbage.

Brian Meelog:               Travis is Smart Dog?

Dirk:                             Mm-hmm (affirmative), that him.

Brian Meelog:               Rodney mentioned a Travis every now and then. I think he kind of supported and believed he could be someone some day. It sounds like he’d know something, if he was the last one to see him.

Mr. Poe:                       Sounds like someone we need to talk to.

Mr. Poe:                       We spend the rest of the afternoon chatting with Miranda and Dirk. They’re a simple, salt of the earth couple who are enjoying the later stages of life. Miranda is genuinely worried about Rodney, and Brian remains understandably morose. So as we get back into the car to head to the hotel, I make a suggestion.

Mr. Poe:                       Wanna try Rodney’s place again?

Brian Meelog:               I don’t know. The police could still be there, right?

Mr. Poe:                       Well, not 24/7 [inaudible 00:27:21]. Let’s take a look.

Mr. Poe:                       We head back towards Rodney’s. The street lamps are now starting to flicker on, a warm amber covering the trees and the tarmac. It seems peaceful and quiet, just like the way Miranda referred to the town. We eventually pull up to Rodney’s driveway and there are no police cars or police officers in sight. We pull over to the side of the curb and just watch for a minute or two. I can feel my stomach rumbling and I’m not sure if it’s nerves or something else. I hear Brian’s stomach gurgling, too.

Mr. Poe:                       You all right?

Brian Meelog:               No, I actually don’t feel too good.

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah, me too.

Brian Meelog:               Oh, I think I need to go.

Mr. Poe:                       You need to go?

Brian Meelog:               To the bathroom.

Mr. Poe:                       So Brian jumps out of the car and runs over to Rodney’s house, and squats by one of the trees. Then, just like it was meant to be, I get the runs too, and have to quickly run to another tree. By this point, I am simply levitating with anxiety, and if it couldn’t get any worse, a neighbor walking his dog sees us.

Speaker 1:                    Hey, you. You, what are you doing over there? Hey, you. I’m calling the cops.

Mr. Poe:                       We watch the neighbor make for his house. We take our cue and we get back to the car, clutching our stomachs. We rush back to the hotel, where we both spend the night in and out of our bathrooms. I am never eating Miranda’s food again. Morning comes, and we seem through the worst of it. Getting into Rodney’s house has become my main mission, but both Brian and I agree that we will leave it for the time being. So instead, we decide to focus on Smart Dog. We walk along the street looking for anyone who matches his description that’s maybe on a corner rapping or trying to sell demos, but it’s pretty empty, not many people around. We pop into an ice cream shop and ask the lady behind the counter if she knows anything.

Mr. Poe:                       Hi. Hi, excuse me, we’re looking for a guy named Travis or Smart Dog. Apparently, he spends a lot of time round here.

Speaker 2:                    Smart Dog. You mean the kid who thinks he’s straight outta Compton?

Mr. Poe:                       Yes.

Speaker 2:                    Yeah, I seen him, but not today. You tried the music studio next door?

Mr. Poe:                       No.

Speaker 2:                    You wanna check the sundae?

Mr. Poe:                       No.

Mr. Poe:                       We head next door and walk up a flight of stairs to a big red door. We can hear music thumping on the other side. We walk into the studio and see the receptionist sitting behind a desk. She’s chewing gum and is engrossed in something on her phone.

Mr. Poe:                       Hi. We’re trying to find Travis. Smart Dog?

Speaker 3:                    You friends of his or something?

Mr. Poe:                       Yes.

Speaker 3:                    Okay. He’s like in the recording now. You can like go right in and sit in the viewing area if you want?

Mr. Poe:                       Great. Thanks. She walks us into a control room. A guy who appears to be Smart Dog is in the booth with an engineer and some friends. He’s a lackadaisical looking kid, about 19, shaved head, very pale. Looks stoned.

Travis:                          Right. No, hold on, man. No, the speed ain’t right.

Mr. Poe:                       Smart Dog says he wants to take a break. We wave to him through the window and he motions to join him outside.

Mr. Poe:                       Hi, Smart Dog.

Travis:                          All right?

Mr. Poe:                       My name’s Willkie Poe, and this Brian Meelog, Rodney’s brother.

Travis:                          Hey.

Mr. Poe:                       We’re just wondering if you had a few minutes to have a chat about Rodney. Is it okay if I record this, by the way?

Travis:                          Yeah, that’s cool. What do you wanna know about Rodney?

Brian Meelog:               He’s missing.

Travis:                          Man, everybody know that he go off sometimes, you know?

Mr. Poe:                       But he’s been gone for a while now and it seems like there are a few things that just don’t add up.

Travis:                          Yeah, I know. That can be weird and all that, for sure.

Brian Meelog:               You two were friends?

Travis:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative). We hung out a little, you could say.

Mr. Poe:                       When was the last time you saw him?

Travis:                          We were chilling out three weeks ago. On a Thursday, I think it was. Like he was helping me with some beats, you know? Like I got this one song I used this intro on from this guy Rodney’s mad obsessed with.

Brian Meelog:               What guy? Do you know his name?

Travis:                          No, I don’t know. Some old guy. I can play it you now, if you like.

Mr. Poe:                       Smart Dog searches through his phone, then puts it on speaker. I’ll play you what we heard.

Travis:                          Here, check it. Listen to this, man.

Orson Wells:                We know now that in the early years of the 20th century, this world was being watched closely by an intelligence-

Travis:                          Intelligence, see.

Orson Wells:                … greater than man’s.

Travis:                          Greater than man’s.

Orson Wells:                Across the immense ethereal gulf, minds that to our-

Travis:                          The minds, yo.

Orson Wells:                … minds are as our minds are to the beasts in the jungle.

Travis:                          Beasts in the jungle, yo.

Orson Wells:                Intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

Travis:                          Drew their plans, man.

Mr. Poe:                       Isn’t that Orson Wells?

Travis:                          Yeah, I don’t know the guy’s name, dude, but I like his passion. You feeling me?

Mr. Poe:                       Did he give it to you?

Travis:                          Yeah, man. Like I said, Rodney’s obsessed with the dude. There’s more to it, but Rodney keep that under lock and key, man, know what I’m saying? We never get to use that bit. He like super protective.

Mr. Poe:                       So, you say you saw him on that Thursday and he played you some of this recording?

Travis:                          Yeah, that’s right.

Mr. Poe:                       And then you were gonna think about how you could use it?

Travis:                          Uh-huh. And then he just like disappeared, man. Oh, apart from the VM I got.

Mr. Poe:                       VM?

Travis:                          Yeah, you know, voice mail.

Mr. Poe:                       You got a voice mail?

Travis:                          Yeah. You guys wanna hear it?

Mr. Poe:                       Yeah.

Brian Meelog:               Yes, please.

Travis:                          Check it.

Miranda Gambisi:         Hey, Travis. Look, man, I need you to make a copy of that thing I played you the other day. I think some people found it and they found that I want it, and anyway, they … Meet me in Denny’s in [Bordentown 00:33:07] at 6:00 PM.

Travis:                          And that was it, boom.

Mr. Poe:                       So what happened? Did you go?

Travis:                          Yeah, I went there and got there around like 5:45, stayed there till like 7:00. He didn’t show up. So I called, it goes to voice mail and that was the last I heard from him.

Brian Meelog:               So you have no idea where he could be?

Travis:                          No, man. Hey, you been to his house and all?

Mr. Poe:                       We can’t get in there just now. Did you make a copy of these recordings, by any chance?

Travis:                          Yeah, yeah, man. It’s all on Rodney’s laptop, you hear me? Ain’t nothing all the time, but you the detective, you figure it out.

Speaker 4:                    Travis?

Mr. Poe:                       Well, forensic psychic, actually.

Travis:                          Whatever.

Mr. Poe:                       Thank you for your time. If we need anything else, can we get in touch?

Travis:                          Yeah, man. I’ll be here.

Speaker 4:                    Come on, dude.

Travis:                          Every day. All day, every day.

Speaker 4:                    Want you back in here, man.

Mr. Poe:                       With that, we thanked Travis, aka Smart Dog, and head back to the hotel. Both Brian and I knew that we needed to get into the house and find Rodney’s laptop as soon as possible, just hoping it wasn’t in an evidence box somewhere.

Mr. Poe:                       Next time on Grovers Mill.

Mr. Poe:                       Do you know exactly what the paintings were of and who painted them?

Brian Meelog:               Not really. All I know is that they were around growing up and Rodney took them when he moved out here. I can try and find out, though. Maybe there’s some record somewhere in Rodney’s stuff.

Speaker 5:                    Rodney talked about a place, tried to hide it or something. [inaudible 00:34:27] he was always saying to me that if anything strange happened, or if he had a down day, he would go up there.

Speaker 6:                    To call on further advisement that Rodney had an obsession with the photograph and that he had on occasion told friends and acquaintances that these photographs potentially be some kind of groundbreaking news. Prior to finishing the phone interview, the caller further stated that Rodney had taken out life insurance. He told everyone that if he ever went missing, then it wouldn’t be an accident.

Mr. Poe:                       Right, and did you believe that?

Speaker 6:                    We get situations like this all the time. False callers, false [inaudible 00:35:00]. We look into it, but no one confirms any of it.

Mr. Poe:                       Grovers Mill is written and produced by Matt Cohen Gold, [Garrett 00:35:23] Dukes and me, Willkie Poe. Music and sound design is by Matt Sladen. With special thanks to Rupert Degas and Amy Horn. We’d also like to thank Megan Tate, Mark [Luhac 00:35:38], Barry [Stewart 00:35:39], Marcus [Beer 00:35:40], Steven [Busatil 00:35:41], [Zan 00:35:41] [Saintpierre 00:35:42] and [Anya 00:35:44] [Dolganava 00:35:44]. This has been a Grovers Mill production, copyright 2018.

Mr. Poe:                       Grovers Mill is a fictional podcast that is shared with you as a satire and parody. It depicts entirely fictitious situations that are products of the writers’ imaginations. The podcast references familiar places and events, and whilst we also use some real life personalities, the characters, qualities and actions that we’ve applied to those people are not intended to be real. We also do not suggest any association with or sponsorship by any person or entity. All other names, characters and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons living or deceased, places, buildings and products is intended or should be inferred. For further information on Grovers Mill and its use in satire, parody and fiction, please read the disclaimer on our website, groversmillpodcast.com.

PART 3 OF 3 ENDS [00:36:49]