Second Fiddles

Episode 3 – Ren

September 02, 2021 Sidekicker Studios Season 1 Episode 3
Second Fiddles
Episode 3 – Ren
Show Notes Transcript

A new sidekick with an embarrassing alias shows up to the support group. It's time to meet Ren, who avoids karaoke at all costs!

FOURTH WALL
Previously, on Second Fiddles: Max and Tammy met Sophia, their fellow sidekick. Their first support group meeting was cut short when Max heard some rats and things started blowing up in downtown Rose City. We pick up one week later. Also, Listener, in case you were wondering, I’m Fourth Wall, your narrator! Well, mostly for just introductory recapping. Whatever. Let’s begin.

MAX: Episode 3, Ren.

TAMMY
Oh my god, Max, are you okay? There’s blood everywhere!

MAX
What? No, I’m fine.

TAMMY
Oh, sorry. It’s just ketchup. I forgot you don’t know how to eat like a normal human.

MAX
Don’t be a BLEEP. Great, now I have to go change my shirt before anyone gets here.

TAMMY
You probably don’t have to rush! Sophia sent me a text, and she’s not coming. She’s still helping Smasher and the rest of the A-league do recon on the bombing from last week!

MAX
What? Hold on!

TAMMY
I could use my powers, then you’d hear me!

MAX
If you used your powers, all I’d hear is ringing for hours. Or, ya know, nothing. I’m shocked I haven’t been deafened by now. Thank god for my sonic dampeners. I almost kept them in my ears when I showered this morning, though. That would’ve been pretty bad. I can not afford another pair.

TAMMY
Are you trying to make me feel bad?

MAX
No, it happens fairly organically. No effort needed.

TAMMY
Did you hear what I said?

MAX
All I heard was something about Sophia helping with bomb research?

TAMMY
That’s the gist. She’s not coming tonight.

MAX
I still think more people would’ve come last week if the meeting wasn’t interrupted.

TAMMY
Fourteen people dead, and dozens injured, and you care about who might’ve come to our support group?

MAX
Aww, Tam, you said our support group. Do you actually care?

TAMMY
You, uh, must be mistaken. I repeat, why don’t you seem to care about the bombing?

MAX
I care! Obviously, the gravity of the situation is like, foremost on my mind. Don’t be a troll.

TAMMY
No one else was coming.

MAX
How would we have known, anyway? You didn’t ask anyone to RSVP.

TAMMY
You’re still on that? I have more contacts than you, so let me network my own way. Don’t be such a back-seat sidekick recruiter. Unless you want to invite your Falcon BFF.

MAX
Don’t bring Eloise into this. You’re just jealous I have a connection with a living creature that isn’t related to me.

SOUND: KNOCKING AT DOOR

TAMMY
Oh, I got it! I hope it’s Invisidude.

MAX
Tammy, you shut your mouth.

SOUND: DOOR OPENING

TAMMY
Oh, wow, that’s an outfit. I love the stars and moons on your cape!

REN
I didn’t know if I should come in costume or not.

TAMMY
I probably should start clarifying from now on. Sorry. Come on in!

REN
Thank you.

SOUND: DOOR CLOSING

TAMMY
I’m Tammy, but you can use Pitch, I don’t care. This is my brother, Max.

MAX
Hi! Sit down, get comfortable. You can take off your mask if you want.

REN
Are you a sidekick too, or do you just live here?

MAX
You might not recognize me without my mask and my antlers.

REN
Antlers?

MAX
Yeah, well, they’re like little baby antlers on a helmety hood cowl thing. I could go get it if you wanna see!

TAMMY
Max is Buck, he works with The Stag.

REN
The Stag? That alien deer thing? I didn’t know he had a sidekick. Are you new?

TAMMY
Ha! I wish I was recording this.

MAX
No, I’ve been with him for a while now…

REN
Sorry, I’m kinda new, myself. You can call me… Ren.

TAMMY
I met Ren at an audition. Did you end up booking it?

REN
Nope. It’s been hard to find someone who wants to use my particular skill set. I started a new gig a few days ago. I’m training a lot right now, but it’s harder than I thought.

TAMMY
Did you settle on an alias yet? When we met, you said you were between a couple names.

REN
Well, I'm–

MAX
What can you do? I can talk with animals.

REN
Really? That’s so cool.

TAMMY
Oh god, don’t feed his ego.

REN
Can you speak their languages, or is it telepathic?

MAX
Telepathic. It’s less actual talking, and more like interpreting their thoughts into English in my brain, and vice versa.

REN
Nice! Can you talk to my dog?

MAX
Err, yes, but, uhh–

TAMMY
Most animals hate his guts. Probing their minds with his power usually puts them in a nasty mood. Except for the Stag, he’s like, fully sentient.

REN
Oh, sorry.

MAX
No need to apologize.

REN
Sorry. Oops. Uhh, I can sing people to sleep.

TAMMY
That’s why we bonded, she understands the stress that comes with having a sonic power. But hers is less destructive than mine.

REN
I wouldn’t say that. I might not blow things up, but I– Nevermind.

MAX
You said you started working with someone? Who’re you paired with?

REN
Lucid Lucy. She’s a reserve member of the B-League.

TAMMY
Oh, that girl is crazy.

MAX
She’s barely ever mentioned in the news. I’ve never met her before.

TAMMY
That’s actually probably a good thing. Because she crazy.

MAX
Your powers must work really well together! She’s a dreamwalker, right?

REN
Kind of. She’s a telepath, but she can only read people’s minds when they’re sleeping. So if they’re really deep in a dream, it gets complicated. Sorting out what’s real and what’s not can be pretty taxing.

TAMMY
Which is why she’s crazy.

MAX
So you sing people to sleep and then she can read their minds? That sounds like a really fast way to gather intel.

REN
That’s the goal, but like I said, it’s been three days. We’re running into some trouble with our training. That’s kind of why I wanted to come here today. I can’t really talk to Lucy about it.

TAMMY
Because she’s crazy.

MAX
Tammy. Stop. We get it. Ren, what kind of trouble? Do you have full control over your powers?

REN
Oh, yeah, control isn’t an issue. But there’re just a lot of factors and, um, liabilities.

MAX
Like what?

REN
Lucy needs to be awake to use her powers, but I can’t target individuals, so she can’t be within earshot or she’ll be affected too.

MAX
I have sonic dampeners in my ears most times to prevent Tammy from accidentally snoring my eardrums apart in the middle of night. Is that an option for you?

TAMMY
Whatever, you snore louder than I do.

REN
Yeah, that was the first thing we tried. They block damage, but it’s like if you wear earplugs to a concert, you can still hear the music. My voice isn’t harmful, like yours, Tammy, but if you can hear it, it zonks you out.

TAMMY
That was the alias you were going by when I met you, right? Zonks?

REN
I was stuck between Zonks and Lullaby, but Lucy didn’t like those. So, she picked a name out for me, but I’m trying to brainstorm other names.

MAX
What about Brainstorm? Like, as a name?

TAMMY
I don’t think that’s specific enough. Besides, there’s a henchie named Brainstorm. She dulls your senses, so it feels like fog or static in your head. Hence, the name Brainstorm.

MAX
Henchies are the worst!

REN
Henchies?

MAX
Sorry, it’s what Tammy calls henchmen.

TAMMY
And henchwomen.

MAX
Henchie is more gender neutral. And it has less syllables than henchperson.

REN
I didn’t realize that was a thing. Do a lot of the villains here have… henchies? I just moved to Rose City with my family a few months ago.

TAMMY
Heroes have sidekicks, villains have henchies. Some are just angry lackeys with no powers, but others are powered, like Brainstorm. The villains here used to take on apprentices, but the apprentices keep getting delusions of grandeur, and they’d kill their villains.

REN
Really?

MAX
Yeah, it was a real issue. The henchies have less say, but I hear they’re trying to unionize!

TAMMY
Henchies are the worst.

MAX
Seriously. The worst.

TAMMY
What about... Morphine?

MAX
Are you doing drugs now, and you haven’t told me?

TAMMY
No, idiot, for an alias for Ren.

REN
I like Morpheus better. He’s the god of sleep, I think. Or dreams. But that’s more of a guy’s name.

TAMMY
If you went with Morpheus, people would think you’re doing Matrix cosplay.

REN
Who’s Matrix? I never heard of that hero before.

TAMMY
No, the movie, The Matrix. With Neo and Trinity and Morpheus?

REN
I’ve never seen that.

TAMMY
Wow. Okay. Kids these days. What about Jigglypuff? Or are you too young for a solid pokemon reference?

MAX
That would obviously infringe on some trademarks or copyrights or something.

TAMMY
So Snorlax is also out of the question?

REN
You really don’t need to–

MAX
I got it!

REN
You don’t have to help with–

MAX
Drowsy!

TAMMY
Max, that’s a pokemon, too.

MAX
Seriously? They have all the good sleepy names!

TAMMY
What about Yawn?

REN
I don’t think that–

MAX
Ooh, maybe Sleepyhead?

REN
Please, stop.

TAMMY
I got it, I got it. How about this… Coma!

REN
Stop!

TAMMY
Sorry, sometimes we get carried away.

MAX
Yeah, we won’t suggest any more names. Sorry. But I will add, I like Coma, too.

REN
I don’t. Sorry, I don’t want to think about comas, I don’t want to be reminded of… Nothing. Nevermind.

TAMMY
Sorry for the trigger, kid. Really.

REN
It’s okay. I just met you, Max, and Pitch, err– Tammy, I don’t know you very well either. So let’s stick to talking about work for now, okay?

MAX
Point taken. We’re better when we’re apart. I promise. So, before we went down that brainstorm rabbit hole, you mentioned that your hero had picked out a name for you?

TAMMY
Max, would you hate me if I brought up that Rabbit Hole is also the name of a henchie?

MAX
Too late. Why is he called Rabbit Hole?

TAMMY
I think he has a pocket dimension or something.

MAX
Hmm. Anyway, Ren? What name did she give you?

REN
Uh, it’s super embarrassing.

TAMMY
There are some doozies out there, like that snake lady, Annie Conda. Is it as bad as that?

REN
It’s worse.

MAX
It’s best to rip it off like a band-aid. Does it at least match with your hero? The only reason I’m Buck is because it goes with the Stag really well. If I ever worked for someone else, I'd probably have to rebrand.

REN
No, it goes with her name. Fine. It’s Snoozy Suzie.

TAMMY
I didn’t quite get that.

REN
Snoozy Suzie.

MAX
Oh my god. Lucid Lucy and her sidekick Snoozy Suzie. I think you won some sort of contest.

REN
More like, lost a contest. You can see why I’m trying to brainstorm other options.

MAX
I’m sorry, that totally sucks. We should probably change the topic. You talked about liabilities before, with your power. What kind of liabilities were you talking about?

REN
Oh, um, well, when I use my power on people that are standing up, they tend to... fall down.

TAMMY
Yes. Gravity. Is that a problem?

REN
Well, you’d think people would swoon asleep or something, and land gracefully, but they fall. Hard. And I don’t wanna hurt anyone. I wanna help people.

TAMMY
I guess having everyone around you crack their head open on the ground isn’t your idea of a good time?

MAX
It’s Tammy’s idea of a good time.

TAMMY
No, it’s Tammy’s idea of a great time.

REN
Having to make sure anyone I sing to is sitting down gets really tricky, so the B-league wants to use me for helping Lucid Lucy get intel, which is normally in a controlled environment. I don’t wanna go out in the field yet, I don’t trust myself after– I just don’t trust myself.

TAMMY
Speaking of field work, you missed a hell of a meeting last week.

REN
I was too nervous to come to the first meeting, so I figured I'd wait a week. What happened?

TAMMY
It got cut short with the bombing downtown. Recall was with us, and she met up with her hero, Smasher. Max almost passed out when he saw him in person, he was fanboying, hard.

MAX
I would argue, but what’s the point?

TAMMY
Your ears are turning bright red.

MAX
Fine, it was awesome.

REN
Max, your hero… The Stag? Was he there?

Max
Uhh, no. He avoids most work in the city. He sticks more to issues in parks and the forests around the city. Concrete and pavement wear out his hooves really fast. He regenerates when he’s hurt, but his hooves still grow pretty slowly. I brought up going to a farrier and getting horse shoes, or, I dunno, deer shoes, and he nearly blew my head up with his laser beams. Also, people in the city are terrible drivers, and if he was crossing the street, there’s like a twenty percent chance somebody would hit him. And that could easily kill someone. It would be like hitting a moose. Have you ever hit a moose? Your car gets totaled and the moose just like skips away to go eat berries or something.

REN
Have you ever hit a moose before?

MAX
No, I saw a picture online one time. It looked rough.

TAMMY
That’s one of the reasons why The Stag and lil’ Buck here are relegated to the C-League. There aren’t too many missions that a giant deer can help with. He might as well just work for the DEC as their superhero mascot or something. Pick up your trash, and extinguish the fire at your campsite, or I’ll burn your face off with laser beams!

MAX
Come on, that was one time. And they pulled a gun on us, so it was self-defense. And he didn’t burn his face off completely, he just lost an ear and some hair. I mean, it grew back. The hair did, not the ear. 

REN
The bombs destroyed mostly office buildings, right?

TAMMY
Yeah. There was a hair salon between two of the buildings, though, and a couple apartments on the floors above it. The blast killed some of the salon staff, the office building’s custodial staff, a couple security guards, two hairdressers, and an old couple that was living in their home apartment. Everyone else was lucky enough to have either gone home from the office for the day, or weren’t at home.

REN
So we know it was planned, because it was caused by explosives, right? Any idea who did it?

TAMMY
The police are working with the A-league, and maybe the feds, I don’t know, to figure it out. I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought you and Lucid Lucy in to dreamwalk for some intel.

MAX
When the Stag and I teamed up with Fourth Wall a while back, we caught the villain Sally Mander. She has a thing for fire and explosives. I wonder if there’s any connection?

TAMMY
Thankfully, she’s locked up at The Island. And she’s more spontaneous. I can’t see her making plans and blowing up office buildings.

REN
What’s The Island?

MAX
You really are new to Rose City, aren’t you? The Island is a prison for villains. Like alcatraz, but reinforced for handling superpowers.

REN
Oh. Okay.

TAMMY
Beside Sally Mander being locked up, this doesn’t fit her M.O.– She normally just gets pissed and starts blowing things up haphazardly. To catch the culprit, we need to figure out the motive. Why would someone blow up these specific buildings?

MAX
You’re acting like you’re working the case.

TAMMY
Shut up. Maybe I’m living vicariously through Recall. I would kill to be assigned to a case like this.

REN
I wouldn’t want to, seems really dangerous.

MAX
Tammy loves danger.

TAMMY
Well, I don’t run from it, if that’s what you mean. It doesn’t matter. Those office buildings were mostly for some boring telecommunication stuff. Nothing like a chemical manufacturing plant or a genetics lab.

MAX
I thought one of them was a marketing agency.

TAMMY
Yeah, but they only worked on local campaigns, like grocery stores and stuff. They wrote that new jingle for Rosie Markets.

MAX
How much research have you been doing on this case?

TAMMY
I’ve had that audition to prep for, and research helps me focus. Especially because it’s for Fourth Wall.

MAX
But he’s not even in the A-League, he’s part of the Old Hero Society.

REN
That doesn’t seem very nice.

MAX
No, that’s their official name: The Old Hero Society. It’s made up of former Rose City A-league heroes that are past their prime, or have some work limitations. It’s like a way to ease into retirement, but while still helping put away the bad guys. Fourth Wall's a clairvoyant, so he knows a lot, but not everything. The older he gets, the spottier his all-seeing vision is. He also spends a lot of time talking to someone that isn’t there.

REN
Oh. When’s your audition?

TAMMY
Tomorrow. I’m... optimistic.

MAX
And desperate. She really needs this job. And I really need her to get this job. Rent does not pay for itself!

TAMMY
Whatever. Now I have that stupid Rosie Markets jingle stuck in my head, so that’s great.

MAX
I don’t know what it sounds like.

TAMMY
You’d recognize it if you heard it. It’s like, umm “Have a Rosie day,” something. I know the melody, but not the words. Have you heard it, Ren?

REN
Umm, I think so. It’s like, “Have a Rosie day, shop the Rosie market way!”

Oh, no, no, no, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to use my power! Oh, god. Okay, so, they were both sitting down already, and I can leave a note. Or maybe just send a text in the morning. Or leave a voicemail?  No, no one leaves a voicemail. I know you can’t hear me, but I’m sorry, Tammy. I’m sorry, Max. I hope you’re not mad. Please don’t be mad. I really don’t wanna have to move again. I suck at this. Ugh! I hope I’ll see you next week, if you let me. I promise I won’t sing. Oh my god, I’m talking to bodies again. I’m so stupid! Okay. Calm down. 

SOUND: DOOR OPENING

REN
I’m really sorry. Sleep tight! Don’t let the bed bugs… Sorry!

SOUND: DOOR CLOSING

MAX: In this episode of Second Fiddles, Max is voiced by Mat Johnson, Tammy is voiced by Liz Thompson, Ren is voiced by Kristy Barkan, and Fourth Wall is voiced by John Pupo. Thanks for listening!