#A05C17 – Pumpkin Spice

HEXADEC
“#A05C17 – PUMPKIN SPICE
RELEASE DATE: 10/31/2020
WRITTEN BY: KATIE YOUMANS

What would happen if Hallmark got their hands on the Halloween season? The peaceful town of Squash Hallow would appear, of course! But things are never what they seem, and Leigh may be jumping into something he never expected by coming here on business…

HEXADEC is an anthology podcast featuring standalone episodes of a variety of themes and styles. It’s not just limited to fiction — we’ll have nonfiction, too! But what makes them a part of the anthology? Every episode is inspired by a hexadecimal color code.

Credits:
Written by Katie Youmans.
Sound Designed by Wil Williams.
Hazel was played by Elena Fernández Collins.
Leigh was played by John Westover.
The Boss was played by Ishani Kanetkar.
Robin was played by Alex Welch.
Additional voices were provided by Anne Baird, Wil Williams, and Katie Youmans.

Learn more at:
Website – HEXADECpod.com
Twitter – @HEXADECpod

TRANSCRIPT

Scene 1

INT. Leigh’s car, driving. Late night.

LEIGH is driving on a country road. His is the only car around, and we hear only road noise, the wind in the leaves, and the radio. He changes the stations, hearing only static, until he lands on one with an actual signal. We hear the intro music for a late-night Lonely Hearts style show. 

HAZEL: [in a sultry radio voice] Welcome back to The Witching Hour. I’m your host, Hazel, and tonight, we’re talking about how to really know yourself, and know what you want out of a relationship. Remember to ask yourself, “is this person what I am looking for? Do they make me happy?” and worry less about “am I what this person is looking for”. Let them answer that question for themselves. You’ll both be better for it.

HAZEL: In a moment, we’ll start taking calls from you, our listeners. Remember, the number for the studio is 555-0194. But first, let’s talk about a dream I had: it inspired this topic, and it started with a princess…

LEIGH: Huh. Yeah, why not.

LEIGH grabs his phone from the cupholder and dials – while driving, shame on him – and gets connected right away. I don’t care that this isn’t how radio shows work.

HAZEL: Hi caller. You’re live on The Witching Hour. Tell us your tale.

LEIGH: Hi, yeah, I have a question.

HAZEL: Fire away.

LEIGH: Ok, so you say to let people figure out for themselves if you are what they want, but I’m a pretty successful guy, and I think that’s all people are interested in. Got any advice on figuring out if they want me for my bank account instead of for my charming banter?

HAZEL: Sounds like you’re a pretty confident person, talking about money so fast. I like that. Normally, people hold out until at least the second date before swapping salaries. But it sounds like what you think you want is just to be wanted, and what you really want is for someone to kick down those walls you built with your money and bravado.

Right before LEIGH’s response, his phone powers down. He doesn’t realize, and keeps talking.

LEIGH: [scoff/laugh] What walls? Being wanted is a pretty exciting thing to be. And anyone who says different is kidding themselves… [trailing off]

HAZEL: Caller? Hello? [a beat, and then a small laugh] Guess they didn’t want to disturb whatever secrets they had buried beneath all that money and power, huh? Maybe there’s a few too many skeletons there.

LEIGH: I — what? [realizes phone has shut down] Dammit!

LEIGH flicks on his turn signal and pulls into the gravel lot behind a tea shop. He is renting the room above the shop while he’s in town. He gets out of the car and goes up the back steps.

LEIGH: [muttering to himself as he does this] Stupid piece of trash charger, plugged in the whole time and not a damn bit of power going to the battery, noooooo, of course not. Let’s hope I can remember the code for the lockbox with the stupid key.

LEIGH fidgets with the lockbox where the owner said the key would be, pops it open, unlocks the door and goes inside. He throws his bag on the bed.

LEIGH: [pleasantly surprised] Huh! Look at that, a charger already plugged in. That was nice of them.

LEIGH plugs his phone in and it bloops to life. There is a voicemail notification from LEIGH’s boss. He hits play.

BOSS: I don’t care that it’s late — when I call, you answer. I assume you’ve died and you’re dead now because I’m speaking to your voicemail. Let’s hope your ghost can still close a deal, because I need you to get over to that pumpkin patch and convince the owner to sell us their land before the deadline on the 31st! That’s three days! I put my faith in you – don’t make me turn around and tell the investors I was wrong.

LEIGH: Uuuuuuugh.

Scene 2

EXT. the pumpkin patch, early afternoon.

HAZEL is ringing up a customer on an old fashioned cash register as their sibling, ROBIN, walks over to them.

HAZEL: Thank you for your business — you have a great day now!

CUSTOMER: Thanks, you too!

HAZEL: [to their sibling] Hi there! I didn’t expect to see you today. Everything ok? Did Mom call?

ROBIN: No, nothing like that. I just have some weird gossip to share.

HAZEL: Weird gossip is always the best kind.

ROBIN: So, this guy rented my spare room, last minute, said that he was coming to town “on business”.

HAZEL: What kind of business would bring somebody out to Squash Hollow?

ROBIN: No clue, but he got breakfast from the shop and Em was on register this morning — said he was very nice to look at.

HAZEL: And Em doesn’t just throw around comments like that.

ROBIN: That’s why I — huh. That’s his car.

Crunch of gravel as LEIGH pulls up to the pumpkin patch in his car. He gets out and walks over.

ROBIN: Em did not exaggerate.

HAZEL: Shh! [laugh] Don’t let him hear you say that! Be cool.

ROBIN: I’m always-

LEIGH: Good afternoon!

HAZEL: Afternoon!

LEIGH: I’m here to see this gorgeous pumpkin patch you have, and to pick myself out the perfect pumpkin, but I’m afraid I’m hopeless at knowing what makes a pumpkin perfect. Any chance you have the time to help out a lost city boy?

HAZEL: I think I could manage that. I’ll leave my sister in charge in case anyone else comes along.

ROBIN: That feels like telling, not asking.

HAZEL: [hushed] Reconnaissance.

ROBIN: [hushed] Ohh…

LEIGH: I appreciate the help!

The two of them walk off into the patch.

HAZEL: Now, did you actually have pumpkin-picking questions, or was that just a cover?

LEIGH: Maybe a little bit of both.

HAZEL: Honesty. An interesting approach, lost city boy. Go on.

LEIGH: [laugh] This town sure does go all out for Halloween.

HAZEL: Our biggest event around here, yup.

LEIGH: I could never really get into it.

HAZEL: What’s not to get into? The leaves crunch, the air’s crisp, and everything’s a little more magical.

LEIGH: [shrug noise] Just seemed…hokey, I guess. More for kids than anything else.

HAZEL: So you’ve come to a pumpkin patch….why?

LEIGH: Who says it wasn’t just to meet you?

HAZEL: [unimpressed] Uh-huh. So you don’t want my help with a pumpkin?

LEIGH: [scrambling] No, I do! I — I’m trying to get more into the spirit of it all, and right here seemed like a good place to start.

HAZEL: Ok then, I’ll help. But this is training-wheels level. If you actually want to get into the spirit of it all, you should go to the haunted house tomorrow night.

LEIGH: I saw flyers for that in the tea shop downtown. So, tomorrow at 7?

HAZEL: Sorry?

LEIGH: You just invited me to go to a haunted house with you. I’m accepting the offer. It’s a date.

HAZEL: [laugh] You’re a very confident person. I like that.

LEIGH: [recognizing them from the radio show last night] I — what did you just say?

HAZEL: I said I like the confidence. Yeah, ok, I’ll see you there. And I — oh, we did this backwards! I don’t actually know your name yet.

LEIGH: It’s Leigh.

HAZEL: Well, it’s been . . . very interesting meeting you, Leigh. I’m Hazel. See you tomorrow night.

LEIGH: See you then.

LEIGH goes back to his car and starts to get in.

HAZEL: Wait! You didn’t pick out a pumpkin!

LEIGH: Bring me one tomorrow! Like flowers for a first date, but better!

HAZEL: [laugh]

LEIGH starts his car and leaves. ROBIN runs over to HAZEL.

ROBIN: Sooo??

HAZEL: I . . . have no idea.

Scene 3

INT. a local diner, evening

LEIGH is typing away at his phone from a booth in the diner. Background chatter from other patrons. The bell on the door chimes as ROBIN walks in.

LEIGH: [musing to self] What do I want to order . . . burger is usually a safe bet . . . or there’s the–

ROBIN: I need a word with you.

ROBIN slides into the booth without waiting for a response.

LEIGH: Excuse me?

ROBIN: You’re excused.

SERVER: You two ready to order?

LEIGH: We’re not together!

ROBIN: [overlapping] He’ll have the burger, salad instead of fries. I’ll have fries, salad instead of burger.

SERVER: Anything to drink?

ROBIN: Black coffee for him, pumpkin milkshake for me.

SERVER: You got it.

LEIGH: I . . . what just happened?

ROBIN: Was I wrong?

LEIGH: No, but . . .

ROBIN: Exactly. Never am. Getting down to business — that is what you’re here for, right? Business?

LEIGH: [guarded] That is what I said in the online booking form, yeah.

ROBIN: Now, I’m curious just what kind of business involves you coming here, to our small town, and making eyes at my sibling, asking them out to the haunted house, and type-type-typing into that phone of yours nonstop.

LEIGH: . . . everyone’s on their phones nonstop.

ROBIN: Mmm. Well. Fine. But I expect an answer about all the rest of it.

LEIGH: The rest of what? What is this? What, you want me to show you my work emails?

ROBIN: . . . I don’t not want that.

LEIGH: [annoyed sigh] My company wants your sibling’s land.

ROBIN: A-ha! I knew there was something up with you!

LEIGH: Something up with — you make me sound like an enemy agent!

ROBIN: So what’s your angle? Why are you taking my sibling out on a date?

LEIGH: That . . . wasn’t planned.

ROBIN: Huh. Interesting.

LEIGH: What?

ROBIN: You’re not lying. But tell me why I shouldn’t text them right now and tell them why you’re really here?

LEIGH: Because I . . . am asking you nicely? I’ll tell them. Let me be the one to let that cat out of the bag. But after the date?

ROBIN: Mmm . . . fine. You have until tomorrow at midnight. If you haven’t told them by then, I will.

LEIGH: Completely reasonable.

SERVER: Order up!

Scene 4

INT. LEIGH’s car, late evening

LEIGH is driving back to the room where he’s staying. He turns the radio to The Witching Hour again. 

HAZEL: Hello again, listeners. The Witching Hour is here again, and I have some interesting news to share. This morning, I woke up with a funny feeling. I knew I was going to meet someone today. I don’t know what brought him here, or what he brought here with him, but he seems . . . interesting.

LEIGH: I knew it. I knew that was them!

HAZEL: So tonight, callers, I’d like to hear from you about surprise visitors to your life. Tell me about that strange someone who blew in from out of nowhere and shook up your life. The studio number, for those of you who don’t remember, is . . .

Scene 5

EXT. the field outside the Haunted House, night.

LEIGH has just parked his car in the field designated for cars outside of the Haunted House when his phone rings.

LEIGH: [seeing who it is that’s calling] . . . shit.

LEIGH answers the phone.

BOSS: LEIGH! Leigh, you had better have a damn good explanation as to why you haven’t been checking in with me! You know better than anyone what’ll happen to your job if you keep pulling these vanishing acts and don’t get that owner to sign over their land to us by close of business tomorrow!

LEIGH: I do, I know, I’m sorry. I’m about to meet with them right now. Literally just parked outside the spot.

BOSS: Then why are you still on the phone with me? Go! Shove the pen in their little hand and write the signature yourself if you have to!

LEIGH: I think that might invalidate the –

BOSS: I SAID WHAT I SAID.

BOSS hangs up with a clunk. LEIGH sighs, shakes his head, and walks up to the Haunted House where HAZEL is waiting.

HAZEL: There you are! Who were you talking to?

LEIGH: Huh?

HAZEL: On the phone over there. You looked pretty unhappy to be talking to whoever it was.

LEIGH: Oh, nobody. Just some . . . telemarketer?

HAZEL: Well, come on! If this doesn’t put you in a better mood, I don’t know what will.

Inside the Haunted House, there are spooky sound effects – whatever feels right to you, Wil – and occasional surprised yelps and laughter from other parts of the house.

LEIGH: Huh. A kitchen full of bloody knives and cleavers. Very original.

HAZEL: Come onnnn.

Ghostly screams and rattling chains drifting from the bathroom, and a slow drip-drip-drip

HAZEL: How about this?

LEIGH: I mean, toilet ghost is definitely a new one for me.

HAZEL: Still not impressed, huh? Fine, let’s go upstairs.

LEIGH: Lead the way.

Spooky, creaky stairs and electrical buzzing from the bedroom at the top landing.

LEIGH: I . . . what’s this one supposed to be?

HAZEL: I’m honestly not sure. [to the actor in the bedroom] YOU’RE PHONING IT IN, CHRIS. C’MON.

HAUNTED HOUSE ACTOR CHRIS: Aww . . . I’m doing my best . . .

HAZEL: Follow me – they’ve always got something wild in the master suite.

HAZEL grabs LEIGH by the hand and darts into the Master Suite. There’s ghostly humming, and then a sharp sound of glass shattering and a ghostly wail of horror. 

HAZEL AND LEIGH: [surprised noises]

LEIGH: What???

HAZEL: I told you!

The two of them thump their way back towards the stairs when HAZEL trips and loses their balance.

HAZEL: Woah!

LEIGH: Got you!

LEIGH catches HAZEL before they fall. There is a beat, and the two of them lean in, about to smooch, when-

CHRIS: [with the exhaustion of someone who has had to say this way too many times tonight already] Guys, you can’t make out here. C’mon, there are kids.

HAZEL: [embarrassed laugh]

LEIGH: Oh, sorry about that.

HAZEL: Let’s head outside? Get some fresh air.

HAZEL sets off down the stairs without waiting for an answer, dragging LEIGH behind them.

LEIGH: [increasingly smitten, stumbling over words] Air. Yeah, that sounds good. I, uh . . . air would be nice. Yeah.

HAZEL: [laughing] I’ll even buy you a cider.

LEIGH: Better and better.

Scene 6

INT. LEIGH’s room, later that same night.

LEIGH is stretched out on his bed when his phone rings.

LEIGH: Uuuugh. Seriously? Again?

He rejects the call and drops his phone onto the bed, thinking out loud.

LEIGH: [sigh] What if I just . . . stayed? Just stayed, and quit my job. It’s nice here. Sweet. And well . . . there’s also them . . . [another sigh]

Scene 7

INT. LEIGH’s room, early the next morning.

LEIGH wakes up to banging on his door. 

LEIGH: [surprised, confused grunt] Huh?

HAZEL: [yelling through the door] I know you’re in there! When the hell were you gonna tell me why you came here, huh? When were you planning to let me know that you only came to town to steal my pumpkin patch from me to build a goddamn candy factory for your boss, LEIGH? WERE YOU EVER PLANNING TO MENTION THAT BEFORE SHOVING PAPERWORK AT ME?

LEIGH: Stop yelling! I can explain everything! Just let me – agh!

LEIGH scrambles out of bed and stumbles over to the door, unlocking it and opening it. HAZEL bursts in, shoving their way past him, undeterred.

HAZEL: WELL? ANY TIME NOW, LEIGH.

LEIGH: I’m so sorry, this is all just a big misunderstanding!

HAZEL: SURE DIDN’T SEEM LIKE IT WHEN ROBIN EXPLAINED IT TO ME.

LEIGH: Okay, yes, that’s why I came here at first! But you don’t understand – everything’s different now!

HAZEL: Why? What makes it different?

LEIGH: I don’t want to steal anything from anyone – I don’t want to get you to sell your land, and I don’t want to build the factory, and I don’t want to go anywhere ever again that isn’t where you are!

HAZEL: What the hell are you saying?

LEIGH: I love you!

HAZEL: You love me?

LEIGH: I do! And I love the pumpkin patch, and I love this town, and I love Halloween, but I fell in love with all of them because I fell in love with you! Hazel, please tell me you feel something too?

HAZEL: This . . . this is all so sudden.

LEIGH: The best things in life sometimes are.

HAZEL: And we barely know each other.

LEIGH: I’m not going anywhere. I want to learn everything there is to know about you.

HAZEL: [faux flirty, gearing up to wreck this chump] You’ll have plenty of time for all of that.

LEIGH: So you do feel the same way? You love me back?

HAZEL: Oh, absolutely not. [laugh] What, is this a Hallmark movie? No, you showed up and repeatedly lied to my face. No, fuck this.

HAZEL does some sort of magic and LEIGH turns into a frog. His clothes fall to the ground with a soft thwump, and we hear a pitiful croaking sound. HAZEL picks him up.

HAZEL: No, I meant that you’d have plenty of time . . . as a frog, Leigh. But don’t worry, you won’t be lonely. I’ll just put you with all the other big-city business guys who rolled into town thinking they could buy my land out from under me. So at least there’s that!

LEIGH: [is a sad frog]

Scene 8

That night, one last episode of The Witching Hour. We hear the theme, and then

HAZEL: Listeners, I’ve spent a good amount of time today thinking about that thing people say, about how you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your Prince Charming. And the more I think about it, the less I agree. Listeners, when you see a frog, I encourage you to keep on moving. You deserve better than that. Instead, if you must have a frog in your life at all, enjoy the fun they kick up, and then let them hop right along.

HAZEL: And one last thing… Happy Halloween.

Outro

KATIE: #A05C17 is a Hug House Productions for HEXADEC, an anthology inspired by hexadecimal color codes. 
Hazel was played by Elena Fernández Collins.
Leigh was played by John Westover.
The Boss was played by Ishani Kanetkar.
Robin was played by Alex Welch.
Additional voices were provided by Anne Baird, Wil Williams, and Katie Youmans.
You can find more about Hug House at HugHouse.Productions. 

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