Time to Make Puns and Change Lives! Let's Play Callahan's Crosstime Saloon!

You’re not doing too well. You’re still grieving your wife and baby girl, both lost in a car accident, and, well, it very nearly led you to a decision you wouldn’t be able to take back. But before you can do it your surgeon, Doc Webster, recommends you visit a place just off the freeway. He says he thinks it’ll help you deal with what’s going on, and the folks there are always willing to lend an ear. Before long, you’ve become a regular down at Callahan’s Place. Welcome to…

Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon is an anthology series started by Spider Robinson in 1977. From then all the way to 2003, 9 books were published, mostly all dealing with the stories of those at Callahan’s Place. The narrator of the stories, protagonist of this game, and the person described at the top of this post, is Jake Stonebender, and we’ll be learning a bit more about him, as well as the other folks at Callahan’s, as we progress through the story. The game manual also comes with bios for many of the regulars, which I’ll be posting most of in the first update, and keeping at the bottom of this post in case we forget who anybody is.

Originally, this game included voice acting for every bit of dialogue. Unfortunately, downloadable versions of the game don’t include the files with the voice clips, so they’re seemingly lost to the void for the time being. Otherwise, there’s mostly just some pretty decent MIDIs as music, which aren’t too special (with a couple small exceptions, which hopefully I’ll be able to show off).

Now, I don’t think enough people have played this game to really need to worry about spoilers, but if you have, I’d like to keep the thread spoiler free. There’s some lovely twists and turns in here, and I’d like to keep them under wraps as long as we can.

You’re going to see some small typos in this LP. If it’s in-game text, you can be sure that the typo is on their end, I’m triple checking every line I transcribe. I bring this up just because the very first dialogue box I transcribed includes “live-threatening” which is kind of a silly one. If you see typos in my additions, feel free to let me know and I’ll fix them, but in the transcriptions, I’m leaving them as-is.

Finally, some formatting info:
Dialogue and other interactions will have an icon and normal text.
Stage directions and descriptions will be in bold.
My own additions will be in italics.

[details=Character Bios]


Update List
Callahan’s Place
Update 1: Callahan’s Place part 1
Update 2: Callahan’s Place part 2

Adventures of a Lovesick Vampire
Update 3: Pyotr’s House(s)
Update 4: Downtown Transylvania
Update 5: Into Casimir’s
Update 6: Sasha


This first update is gonna be long and exposition heavy. After this, things will get started for real, so let’s hop right in! There’s no opening, just the splash screen that opened the thread, leading straight into this.

I’m a folk singer. Yeah, that’s right, a folksinger. Now, I know it sounds glamorous. And obviously fraught with live-threatening situations and heart-stopping peril. But try to keep up with me anyway.
I spend a lot of time at Callahan’s. As a result, you are not the first person to take up temporary residence inside my head. You probably won’t be the last. A few of us are accomplished psychics, and the rest of us are trying to learn.
Anyway, you’ll find out more about Callahan’s as the evening goes on. But right now, it’s Riddle Night, and as usual, Doc’s supplying the riddles. Pay attention, because if we don’t win this contest, we’re broke. And if we’re broke, the evening’s going to end mighty early.

Ah, Jake Stonebender. His life has really turned around since he found Callahan’s Place. Looks like we’re in his head for the adventure, let’s take a look at his backstory.

The bio isn’t lying. Spider Robinson appears as a character in some stories, says that his world is just another fiction that along with the stories, and his books are just the stories that Jake has told him.

Anyways, the camera pans over to the right nearly 180 degrees, and we move on.

We’re given a yes or no prompt. Let’s say no, just to get the explanation.
Does everybody WANT to know the rules, or do you want to try to figure it out for yourself?
Another prompt, let’s have him explain.
Okay, I’ll be brief, and if you have any questions later on, ask Mike, he’ll tell you whatever you want to know.
In brief, then. Ten answers, they’re all names, and they’re all in the same category of names, like “Movie Titles” or “Famous Emcees.” But it’s neither of those.
Each riddle is a series of words; all you have to do is think of other words that mean the same thing. You put the other words together, say 'em all together, and you get a name of something. That name is the answer.
For instance, if the riddle says, “Christmas Song; Thorn ; Web”, you’d think of words that mean the same thing. Christmas Song could be “Carol,” Thorn could be “Burr,” Web could be “Net.”
Raymond Burr.
Yeah, yeah. Carol Burnett.
Okay? Ten of those, just like that one. Just that easy. Right? Right. Of course, winner gets his or her bar tab refunded. All right? Go.
Is there a time limit?
No there’s no time limit.
Does spelling count?
No. Ask Mike if you have any other questions. Now go.

And go we shall. We’ll get to the two question askers in a bit, but for now let’s take a look at Doc Webster’s history.

This is the guy who told Jake to come here, and turned the man’s life around. His punning is legendary, and we’ll see a bit of it in a moment. We’re now free to move about and investigate. To advance, we have to solve the puzzles, but we’re going to talk to everyone first, starting with Doc.

Ah, conversations. This is how they appear. For the record, all of Jake’s dialogue is presented as options we need to choose, even when there’s only one option like here. I’ll be posting one of these when we first talk to a new person, then just showing the conversation like normal.

Yeah, but “the Bard of Hicksville” doesn’t cut it.
I don’t live in Hicksville, either.
That’s your opinion. I’ve been there, and I’m telling you, you live in hicksville, man.
1. I don’t want to hear a lot of Long Island jokes, thank you very much.
2. I think I’ve got a riddle answer for you.
3. How about a hint for one of the riddles?

Here we get our first dialogue choice. I’ll tell you now, the second two don’t lead to anything interesting. The middle option takes us to the board to solve the puzzles. The second takes us to help in case we get really stuck.

Now, there’s a Deer Park in the Northport of town, perfect for Huntingtons of pheasant. You can’t miss it, to Bay Shore, it’s in Plainview.
Uh-oh, here come the puns. People of Long Island, duck.
I thought we were going to have a mon-to-Montauk, not listen to a travelogue. Next thing I know, you’ll be singing, “Commack to Jamaica…”
I don’t know what to say. I’m just Bayside myself.
Yeah, sorry, it’s a Centereach that far for a joke.
I Woodbury you if I could think of a topper for that.
Sorry, this is the point where I slip out. Doc, you can Babylon all you Wantaugh, but personally, Armagensett. Freeport for everybody!
A choan, the local equivalent of a cheer and a groan, goes up from the crowd. Doc hangs his head in surrender.
Doc surrendering. Now there’s a sight not often seen.
I prefer to think of it as a scene not often sighted.
Are you really buying a round of port for everyone?
Okay, I thought not.
And that’s it for Doc, at least until we’re ready to solve the puzzles. Let’s go around the bar clockwise.

Just this lonely fellow over here. He’s a new face in Callahan’s, and not really sure what the deal is here. In fact, if we look at him…
This man just walked in a few minutes ago. His eyes are peculiarly intense, but the strangest thing about him is that he has no smell. None at all. It ain’t human, I tell ya.
Now Jake, you’re no strangers to non-humans in Callahan’s. Be nice.

You’re new to Callahan’s, aren’t you?
I’m just here for a drink.
But you haven’t been in before.
Yes. I mean, you’re right, I haven’t been in before.
You hold out your hand, which he looks at and, with some uncertainty, shakes.
I’m Jake, I’m one of the regulars. You have any questions, you feel free, OK? Mike runs things a little differently around here than in most places.
He does?
That’s putting it lightly… But here we have a few options, We get to go through them all, so we’ll do it in order.
Well, there’s the contest.
Several nights a week, we have them, usually. Punday Night, and the whoever tells the worst pun of the evening drinks free. Tonight’s Riddle Night. Tall Tales Night is… it’s kinda like Punday Night, but the emphasis is on tall tales.
But they have to be true, of course.
Of course.
Oh, we’ve got the Friday Night Fireside Fill-More Night, that’s not a contest, but it’s kickin’ music.
Which sort of leads me to the Rule.
The rule.
Well… it’s got to do with the clientele here. See, most people don’t wander into this place for no reason. I mean, for being right next to 25A, we don’t get a lot of drop-ins.
Anyway, stick around, chances are you’ll see something. I’d put money on it. If I had any.
Yeah, that’s why I’m out to win Riddle Night tonight. Get my bar tab back.
You’ll get your money back if you win the riddles on that blackboard.
That’s the deal.
Hm. What else is done differently here than in “most places”?
Well, there’s the rule.
What’s the rule?
People open up here a lot. Sometimes shockingly so. But we begin to take for granted that everybody’s interested in opening up all the time.
You open each other up.
I guess you could put it that way. But you’re not allowed to pry. You can pretty much signify that you want to talk about a problem by going over to the chalk line and making a toast.
If Eddie – that’s Fast Eddie over there, at the piano – hears anyone prying, he gives them a… a love tap with the business end of a blackjack, and he ejects you into the parking lot.
What else goes on here?
Well, there’s the toast.
You can make a toast out of any sentiment or occasion, of course, but some people use it as a way of spilling their troubles. Or asking for absolution.
You grant absolution here?
Well, of course the absolution is only good with us, but sometimes that’s all the absolution you really want… for somebody to tell you it’s okay.
You make your toast, you throw the glass into the fireplace. Try to hit the bullseye, it’s the center of the parabola and the glass doesn’t fly into the room so much.
Then you’ve got the floor.
I get the floor.
You’ll have our full attention – as long as you need it or want it. Got it?
It’s very interesting. Is there anything else I should know about?
Well, you should probably just keep your eyes open. Something’ll happen tonight.
Thank you. I will.
And that’s the Biker. After that lengthy conversation, let’s just… take a look around this part of the bar. Let’s start with the tables.
The tables are as sturdy as the chairs. They’re unusually clean for bar tables, because Callahan dotes on them. Is this what’s meant by a table dote?
Okay, this one took me a while to grasp. What he’s punning off of is the termtable d’hôte”. The folks of Callahan’s will go to any distance for a pun. Let’s move on to the window.
You never paid much attention to this window, why start now?
Okay, fine, but can we open it?
You walk over to the window, draw the curtains aside, and open it. A blast of fetid air hits you full in the face, reminding you that the Sanitation Workers are on strike again. You close the window.
Can we, yes. Should we, definitely no. Well, this is an adventure game! How about this shelf of knick knacks?
Rachel, who’s working at Lady Callahan’s tonight, once referred to this stuff as “chozzerai.” Ah, my small amount of Yiddish knowledge comes into play! This is just a word for junk, just… clutter, stuff taking up space. To you, it just looks like junk. Clearly Jake is on the same page. But every item up there was either instrumental in some adventure of one of the regulars, or was the object of an especially rotten pun.

Lady Callahan features in a few of the books. She runs a brothel, but one that follows the same rule as Callahan’s Place. You can be open, but you can’t pry, and nobody will ever do something they don’t want to. Anyways, let’s see if we can take any of this junk.

You can’t decide whether to take what looks like a hood ornament from a '57 T-Bird, the ceramic mermaid with a stomach where her clock ought to be, or the bronzed Krundai claw. Stymied by indecision, you decide to take nothing instead.
I’ve mentioned that the errors are on the game’s end, that I triple check everything I transcribe. The mermaid comment probably isn’t a typo, though, more likely just a weird thing from some other adventure. Now, let’s finally continue moving.

This guy is another new face. less talkative than the last one, though.
This man is not the only new face in the crowd tonight. He’s very dirty and has a noticeable aroma, and his eyes, which meet yours unwaveringly, are sad and slightly fearful. He’a also drinking heavily. When he first came in, he snarfed down the Free Lunch as if he hadn’t eaten in years. You’re hoping he’ll tell his story, sooner or later.
You try to strike up a conversation with the shabbily-dressed gentleman, whom you’ve never seen before tonight. Despite the friendly overtures you make towards him, he barely says a word
The two in the back are Long-Drink McGonnigle and Shorty Steinitz. They’re absorbed in their own conversation though, and just give us a polite nod if we try to talk to them. Shorty is notable for having his appendix removed by Doc Webster, right on top of Callahan’s bar, but he’s not doing anything for us at the moment. We could go out the front doors here, but there’s nothing to see out there for now, so let’s keep moving.

Again the two folks in the back won’t talk to us, too absorbed in their own affairs. This is Tom Flannery and Les Glueham, They’re “Cheerful Charlies,” folks who make it their job to keep people happy. Pretty good guys, if I do say so myself, though Tom has… not long left according to Doc Webster. Let’s leave them be and talk to the pair up front who… aren’t actually talking to each other despite what it looks like. Let’s start with the one on the left. Apparently women are a rare sight in Callahan’s, not that there’s anything discouraging them from coming.

Jodie Bauer is a member in good standing of the Time Police, an organization that doesn’t exist yet. She’s also a humor groupie; win the Punday Night contest, and she’ll accompany you home for the evening. Doc keeps winning, damn his eyes.
If only it was Punday Night instead of Riddle Night, we managed to beat Doc today! Oh well, not that it matters. Josie’s a classy lady, and she’ll go home with whoever she chooses. Let’s throw her bio in here before we talk.

The Time Police are just that: Police whose jurisdiction is the timestream, not a physical place. It’s hard work, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Officer Bauer. Is this an official visit?
I’m officially visiting. But I’m off-duty.
So you’re not just waiting to slap the cuffs on Al Phee, should he happen to drop in.
Far as I know, he’s clean.
Can’t a cop simply go out to a bar without being hassled?
Apparently Jodie and Doc are having a conversation from across the room.
Am I interrupting something?
Nope. Doc and I are just weighing the merits of various tropical beans.
And that’s that. I’ll put in Al Phee’s bio here. He’ll come into play later, but you might as well know who he is.

He’s… something. Like it says, he’s got a heart of gold. But he’s not the most upstanding citizen. Let’s just move on to the big fella up front here.

This is Mickey Finn, a cybergenic creature so named because that’s the drink we gave him the night he wandered in and told everyone that his race was planning on destroying the Earth. He’s saved out skins dozens of times since then. You just wish he’d learn to RELAX.
Ah, Mickey Finn. Let’s take a look at his bio, shall we?

So, Mickey is an alien who came to Earth to destroy it. But the folks at Callahan’s knocked him out and then convinced him not to destroy the planet, and instead he now protects it. He eventually did marry Callahan’s daughter, which is something in itself, since Jake has eyes for her as well.

Michael Finn, how the hell are ya?
Not too shabby, you?
Tolerable well, thank you.
And that’s Mickey Finn. Next to him is Tommy Janssen, a drug addict who cleared his mind here at Callahan’s. He’s in a mood tonight, though, so he’s not talking to anyone. At least his friends are here to keep an eye out. We’ll shift over a bit, just to chat with the last two people at the bar itself, the man who interrupted Doc earlier, and the bar’s owner himself.

Noah Gonzalez is a senior man at the Suffolk County Bomb Squad. You once saw him neatly defuse an exploding cigar… and then neatly defuse the guy who gave it to him.
Noah’s a tough old guy. Let’s look at his bio, first.

Tough, but with his own soft side. Sci-fi and juggling, both hopefully help him forget the stress of his job.

Oh, yeah, I’m being real antisocial tonight. How’s business?
Slow. You’d think bombs were out of style.
Just as well. I’m getting old. I lost to Long-Drink, he’s never gonna let me forget it.
Give yourself a break, he’s an iron man.
Always used to be able to beat him. Not anymore.
So why’s it been so quiet at work?
Got me.
I mean, it’s great, y’know, it’s hard to complain about lack of business.
But it doesn’t feel right, y’know? It’s not natural.
Maybe it’s something on TV.
Haven’t seen a King Family Special in years. Ditto Debbie Boone.
Could it be Baywatch?
Actually, we find domestic bombings go up right after Baywatch.
So it can’t be TV.
Maybe it’s something in the water.
We checked. Couldn’t find anything.
Not TOO paranoid.
You’re saying we shouldn’t be?
Maybe the War on Drugs is having an effect?
The two of you exchange a look, then burst out laughing.
And that’s it for Noah. Let’s talk to the big man himself now, Mike Callahan.
This is Mike Callahan, the man without whom this would all be unnecessary… nor even possible. He possesses an almost supernatural serenity of spirit and inhuman clarity of thought, but he also knows all the pressure points and how to use them.
Let’s take a look at his bio real quickly

That’s right, Callahan isn’t actually from around here. Nobody knows why his bar is such a magnet for strange happenings, but I think everyone is grateful that it is.

You walk over to the bar to talk to Callahan

Mike, good to see you.
What’s up?
I was about to ask you the same thing.
Not too much. Haven’t seen Pyotr yet, but it’s early. Two drop-ins already, that’s unusual. The guy at the end of the bar…
He indicates the shabbily-dressed, heavily-bearded young man at the end of the bar
Ah, yes, the quiet one.
And the heavily-armed guy over there with Mickey.
He nods towards the guy with the big bonus in the Upper Appendages Department. At Callahan’s, unlike at most New York bars, the aliens don’t feel a need to wear black leather or heavy makeup in order to pass for human.
Well, Mickey is standing next to Jodie, and she’s definitely not who’s being talked about. The person Mike is talking about is actually across the room, near the piano. We’ll chat with him pretty soon. Before we continue, let’s look at Pyotr’s bio. We won’t see him for a bit, but he’s another important character in this game.

Pyotr, the kind-hearted vampire. He’s a great guy, making sure nobody is driving drunk and keeping off of harder stuff himself. I wonder what’s keeping him away tonight?
Work much?
Nope. Hence it’s vitally important that I win Riddle Night tonight and win back my tab.
I can float you.
Not necessary. I’ve got it in the bag.
Mike smiles at your faint attempt to sound self assured, and goes back to cleaning glasses.
How’s Sally?
Lady Sally is Mike’s wife, proprietess of a house of thrill repute in Brooklyn… a no less remarkable establishment that shares a lot, both in spirit and clientele, with Callahan’s.
She asked about you the other day.
Yep. Hadn’t seen you in the Place in awhile, wanted to know if you’d met somebody.
Normally, you could be counted upon to turn red around the neck, but after all, the guy’s wife owns the place.
Tell her not to worry… it’s business, not pleasure. I mean, it’s a lack of business, and therefore, a lack of pleasure.
And that’s it for Mike. We can ask for the rules of the competition, or for help, but we don’t need to. We can also ask for a drink, but we don’t have the money and don’t want to let Mike spot us for it, so it would be pointless. Only one more side of the bar to check out before we’re back to the puzzles!

Ah, a hat! Doesn’t look like it belongs to anyone…
A battered fedora hangs on a hook.
Maybe we can just… take it?
It’s not for you, it’s for Dora.
…Ouch, that one actually hurts a bit. But maybe we can just try it on fast!
You try it on and look in the mirror. Not only does it do little for you, but it doesn’t do the hat or the mirror any favors, either.
First hurt my sense of humor, then hurt my pride. You win this one, random hat. Our next friendly face is the man on the piano. We mentioned him to the biker earlier.
Fast Eddi Costigan, Callahan’s long-time pianist, doesn’t usually participate in the Punday Night, Riddle Night, and Tall Tale night contests. But on Monday’s Fireside Fill-More Singalong Night, he’s got more hot licks than Rin Tin Tin

As we mentioned to the Biker, Eddie makes it his business to enforce the Rule. Other than that, he doesn’t pay a ton of attention to the goings-on, mostly keeping his eye and ear on the piano.

What’s going on?
Nuttin’. It’s been real quiet.
Wanna grab Lady Macbeth and liven up da joint?
Maybe later, okay?
You participating in Riddle Night?
Yeaaaa… not really. Glanced at it. Offhand, could only get one clue, so…
Which one?
The four-sharp major key. It’s E. HEL-lo!
I’m… really not musically inclined, so this actually helped. That is one of the clues on the board, and the meaning for it is “E.” We can ask Eddie about the new folks in the bar, but he hasn’t seen any of them, despite one of them being about a foot away. Speaking of, that’s our next stop.

We’ve taken to calling this fellow “Squish” because nobody can pronounce his real name, which is… well, it’s a sort of squishing noise that makes you want to wipe your mouth. You sense that he’s getting ready to open up and spill his guts. You can only hope that that means the same thing on HIS planet that it means on YOUR planet.
This description is accurate though… Jake hasn’t met Squish yet. We’re about to introduce them, though the first line when we interact with Squish comes from Mickey, across the room.

Jake, this is “Dtzllchhh.”
I see what they mean about the name…
A pleasure to meet you, Dtzllchhh.
Thankfully, Jake picks up on this type of thing pretty easily.

We should get ready for a bit of thisstuff.
Dtzllchhh, ktzlch chhh txchgtzlll.
…I… apologize. Presently…my… command to or of… English speech… is… fractional… presently. I…attempt…improvement.
I think you’re doing pretty darn well, Squish! Also, your head is so big and cool looking, you get a bigger icon!
You…may…call me…as…
…Squishing noise.
Well, how about just Squish for short?
Xxlltcth Frwww.
Wchllltcht zchhhltch.
Squish is good.
And there we go, we officially know Squish now. Let’s see what’s up with him.
Hello…human being.
So! How’s things on the Homeworld?
My world…very confused.
Civilization there is… wait, doing conversions… is millions of your months old. Then,… three weeks ago last Tuesday… we discovered beneath the surface of the planet… technology far beyond ours.
Initial thought is that planet is really…spaceship disguised as planet, But when we entered inner core of spaceship, we find…
This is the part I like.
…inside spaceship is enormous asteroid.
So you thought you were living on a planet, but it’s really a spaceship made to LOOK like a planet, and the core of your planet is an asteroid inside the spaceship?
That is…what we believed as well.
Scientists probing asteroid now have evidence that asteroid only look like asteroid, but is actually spaceship of even more advanced race.
Huh. You’d think with all that advanced thinking, one of those civilizations could come up with something more original than making their spacecraft look like asteroids.
Yes, and the deeper you dig, the smarter you find out your ancestors were. You must be feeling backward right about now.
I was not… until you pointed it out…
Tell me about your race.
Our planet is Txschlrrr Ppppp… our system for government is Ccchrlxzz Ptzkrzmism. And our chief exports are fpfpzlllkm, czztschrkrl, and fzzzkrplch.
What else would you like to know?
How do you keep from hurting your tongue?
How many arms exactly DO you have?
Up to six. Four normal…one retractable, one inflatable.
What’s the inflatable one for?
Water begins to cascade out of Squish’s eyes, and orange spots blossom all over his face. You decide to drop the subject before he drowns in humiliation.
Jake is usually better than this… But that does it for Squish! Let’s get back to our goal, the puzzles!

Well, actually, let’s look at some things we learned about earlier, the chalk line and the fire.
This chal line indicates where to stand if you’re going to make a toast and fling your glass into the fireplace. Generally, when someone stands at the chalk line, everyone hushes up and prepares to listen.
We also have the option to… erase it!? Jake, you wouldn’t!
You bend over and try to erase the chalk line, but succeed only in slightly smudging it. It’s apparently been ground in fairly solidly over the years.
Phew! Now, the fire. We can Look, Throw, Extinguish, and Poke it.
For a change, somebody’s built a fire strong enough to stand up to the hail of glass that follows a toast.
The fire isn’t aerodynamic enough for an effective lob.
O-oh… I figured it meant throw something in, but that works too…
The fire is adding needed warmth and cheer to the room. If you want to play Smoky the Bear, wait until everyone else has left.
You look around the fireplace, but there’s no poker in sight. Perhaps it’s just as well, since the fire seems to be doing just fine.
Alright, now we’re ready! You may notice the ladder leading up. It goes to the roof, but there’s nothing there for us right now either. Let’s get to those puzzles!

Here we are, ten puzzles, and the end of this first update! I’ll leave these for a day or two to see if anyone takes a crack at them, and then we’ll move on. Remember the explanation: Take each term given (terms are separated by semicolons) and think of another word that means the same thing. Do that for every term, then say them out loud together to get the answer. They all fit an unknown theme, and once you have the theme it might make them easier to decipher. Hidden below I’ll have the puzzles transcribed, and the theme in a spoiler blur. Good luck, puzzle solvers!

[details=Puzzles]1. Cranky; exist; bootlegging devices; grind teeth; additionally; green
2. Rapid; fibrous cellulose material; arguably superior computer
3. Broth; paddle; vagabond
4. Slender projectiles; legend
5. Iriitate; occupied to capacity; lifeless
6. Propel with paddle; wildcat; vocal inflections
7. Guided; fasten w/ sliding fastener; face that launched ships
8. Correct; ancient game; boullion; funeral transport
9. Portion; wealthy; woman; four-sharp major key
10. Thump; minerals containing metal

The theme of the answers is 60’s music groups. (well, two are from 1970, but the rest are 60’s)

Man, I remember the books this game is about. I never actually played the game though.

I’m…I’m not going to say they’re great. Because they’re not. They’re a lot of fun and I love reading them but Spider Robinson is way too proud of his dumb puns and jokes, among other things. But…well, they are a ton of fun.

Oh man, I love making puns.

But seriously, I remember playing this and stopping at one of the endgame places. Really wanna see what I missed.

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I’ve never heard of this series before, but I really like the setup. And the puns. The puns are also great.
Though like most point and clicks from that era, it seems they expect you to really know your pop culture. Admittedly, those riddles are pretty neat, but I don’t remember nearly enough 60’s bands off the top of my head to figure those out.

What a coincidence, I also love making puns, and I happen to enjoy riddles!

As for the puzzles themselves, well, I know a couple of the answers.

Number 2 would be Fleetwood Mac, and Number 5 would be Grateful Dead. I should probably know more of these but I’ve only absorbed this knowledge through my musically-inclined girlfriend. Edit: I had to look up the last part to Number 7, I’ll admit, but I kinda knew it was Led Zeppelin. It was the face that launched ships that had me hung up. Led obviously being a pun on Lead, Zepp being Zip, but elin referred to Helen of Troy, which it’s been way too long since I learned about that ancient stuff to remember that.

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MadameTanky and I sussed them out together.

1. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
2. Fleetwood Mac
3. Supertramp
4. Aerosmith
5. Grateful Dead
6. Rolling Stones
7. Led Zeppelin
8. Righteous Brothers
9. Partridge Family
10. The Doors


Ah you’re giving me too much credit, most of them were all you.

I still don’t know how I didn’t get Aerosmith I’m an idiot lmao.

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Welcome back! I’m glad to see that you all gave the riddles a shot, and we have a collection of answers here. Let’s try them out!

All correct! If you use the word “and” in puzzle 1, the name doesn’t quite fit. It doesn’t matter though, as Doc Webster told Jodie, spelling doesn’t count. You managed to puzzle these out, but let’s just go over exactly what the solutions were here.

1. Cross; Be; Stills; Gnash; And; Young
2. Fleet; Wood; Mac (That one’s… pretty straightforward)
3. Soup; Oar; Tramp
4. Arrows; Myth
5. Grate; Full; Dead (Again straightforward)
6. Row; Lynx; Tones (Much less straightforward, but we got it)
7. Led; Zip; Helen (of Troy, specifically)
8. Right; Chess; Broth; Hearse (Odd that “broth” was a hint earlier and an answer here, with a different connector)
9. Part; Rich, Female; E (And there’s the hint Eddie gave us. Thanks Eddie!)
10. Thud; Ores

Some of these are less reasonable than others, but overall they’re pretty alright. For now though, let’s claim our prize!
Astounding! One hundred per cent!
I’m impressed!
And you did it without any help, right?
Mike, give this man back his tab, and he drinks free tonight, on me.
Coming right up.
I hereby pronounce Riddle Night at an end. Jake, you want this left where you can display your genius and bask in the adulation of your devoted fans?
Doc wheels the blackboard into the back room and everyone goes back to partying. The adulation of your devoted fans sure didn’t last long.

And now we have some cash! Also, a lot of people have rearranged themselves in the bar. In fact, everyone is now talking to who they should be based on our conversations with them last time. The game likely didn’t plan on us exploring the bar before solving the riddles, but I wanted to show everyone off. Anyways, keen-eyed readers may have noticed our inventory here. We actually already had something there! Let’s look at what we got!

Sweet, just over 20 bucks to spend on whatever we need! And it won’t be booze, because Doc is covering us tonight!

our trusty wallet. We can actually open it too, and there’s some things inside.

This is the inventory. Our wallet is now open, so the items inside it are displayed as well. The taps on either side of the inventory will let us scroll through when we have too many items to show at once. Now, what are these?

Poor Jake… Like I said, after he lost these two, Jake was a mess, and Callahan’s is all that saved him. This photo is really all he has left of them, so we’d better keep it safe.

Our license! We do drive, so this is important too. Let’s close up the wallet to keep these safe, and take a look at what’s in front of us now.

Ah, Mickey and Squish! We talked to them a bit, but now we can find out some more about Squish. We ask about his race just like before, but now we have another option besides his tongue and his arms.

Why are you visiting Earth?
Squish’s eyes begin to dribble tears freely, and small orange blots break out on his “nose” and "cheeks."
Tlllch chhkptllr tsczzh.
I believe you’ve embarrassed him.
Maybe they need women.
I… Jake, what? Why is that your first guess?
Good luck.
Squish wipes his eyes with the back of a claw.
If I explain…will you help?
Are you…prepared to help me?
Does he have to decide right this moment?
No. I will be here for…an indefinite period of time. You may … inform me of when you are … prepared to hear me out and help me.

Alright, let’s freeze frame for a second! We get the choice of telling Squish we’re ready or telling him to wait a few. You see, the Callahan’s books were anthologies, collections of various short stories. The game functions the same way. We have five stories to do, of which three are available to us right off the bat. Once we tell our quest-giver we’re ready, we’re set on that path, and can’t turn back until we finish it. I’ll be saying yes to all of them in this update, then rewinding time through the power of saves to show you all three options we have. With that, let’s hear what Squish has to say.

Nope, let’s go for it now. Anything else I need to do here can wait 'til I get back.
Squish’s eyes begin to flow freely again, this time probably out of gratitude. Whatever this guy’s been sitting on, it’s been burning a hole in his heart
I’ve already told him about the option, so he knows the routine.
Sure enough, sniffling and fidgeting, Squish ambles over to the chalk mark.
Looks like Squish has something to share with the entire bar, not just us. Must be pretty important.
A hem.
Everyone shuts up. Some of them even recognize Squish’s attempt to clear his throat.
He throws his glass into the fireplace.
To self-determination. :beer: I wonder what could lead to a toast like that…
Do I reveal now?
You don’t have to say a word if you don’t want to.
I very much want to.
I come from a … planet… that your scientific community has not yet discovered. We have been keeping it a …secret from your race for…tens of millions of your Earth weekends.
We have been observing the progression of your technology. You are now showing early signs of movement within space.
The Zchlttrsch Ktszzzhtl are alarmed that your…maturation is not…commensurate with your technological ability. Your technology is used for the subjugation and destruction of your own kind.
It has not been our desire to impede your exploration of all that is beyond your planet. But we have attempted to…lessen the…aggression that remains within you.
Within the orbit of your planet, we have…situated an…unoccupied satellite. The satellite emits a…pulse…targeted…
He directs a look of confusion at Mickey Fiinn.
Czzzhtlrch skpzzrl?
Squish isn’t too familiar with the language yet. The satellite he’s talking about emits a pulse tuned to the molecular frequency of the hormone testosterone. Somehow the pulse makes the hormone dissipate, though he himself isn’t sure whether the testosterone undergoes a shift that renders it inert, or lessens its effect, or if it is actually leached in some fashion from the human body.
You and Noah exchange a glance. This would explain the recent downturn in bombings and terrorist activity.
Okay, I’m no medical expert. I’m already a pacifist, and as much as I wish it didn’t, my body has way more testosterone than is probably necessary, so I don’t think there’s this direct of a link as they’re making it out to be. Either way, in this universe, clearly this is a direct cause and effect.

Maybe dat’s why I been a little off.
Even Eddie’s feeling it, I guess.
It certainly explains why I’ve been a little less teste.
Ovary funny. You couldn’t even make a hormone with that one.
Seriously you two, punning at a time like this?

Why are you telling us about this, Squish?
At least someone has their priorities right.

Wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had illegal aliens seeking asylum here.
He does mean actual extraterrestrial aliens. I don’t even thing this one’s him punning, I think he just means the actual aliens they’ve had before.

I cannot refuse the will of the Zchlttrsch Ktszzzhtl. I…however…do retain the ability to speak out against the action taken against your planet. To my mind, subjugating a planet in the name of peace…results in a false peace.
If you’re looking for absolution, you’re going to need to help is find a way to destroy that satellite. You know that, don’t you?
I am here as its…onsite installation technician. The…interconnection of my mind with that of the Zchlttrsch Ktszzhtl prevents me from…overt…interference.
Squish digs into a pocket and extracts something that looks vaguely like a keychain. He flings it to the bar, sliding it several feet away from him.
Whoops. Now I have lost the key to my…shuttle.
Squish, what would happen if somebody, somebody other than the Pff…Pff…than one of your people took your shuttle, could they destroy the satellite with it?
Good idea Mike! We have a ship, let’s just blast the thing, thus proving we’re non-violent enough to be trusted! Wait…

No. The shuttle offensive systems will not…fire upon…friendly hardware. But…theoretically, if one were to dismantle the correct emitter circuitry and…render it inoperable, the Zchlttrsch Ktszzzhtl might not be able to detect this. But if I were to find out about it, I could not help but report it.
Well, I think I’ll go outside, get some air.
You immediately walk over towards the bar. Squish pretends to notice some dirt under his claw as you quietly fold your fingers around the keychain and slip your hand into your pocket.
If he doesn’t see where his keys went, he has nobody to report. Looks like we’re going for it!
Think I’ll go with you.
Maybe I’d be a better choice.
Oh…I figure I’ve got more personal stake in this than you do.
Looks like Noah will be tagging along with us! This thing has been the cause of the downturn in work for him recently, so he wants to check it out himself.

Squish, about that shuttle of yours. Let’s say someone WERE to steal it, heaven forbid. How would they operate something so foreign.

We are just talking theoretically, correct?
There would be nothing to be afraid of, even for a human…pilot. The shuttle’s capabilities are minimal. The controls are…obvious, although it may require some experimentation to understand their functions. The circuitry will not allow you to cause damage to yourself, nor take you beyond orbit.
Let’s be careful out there.
I’m not entirely sure what the interjection was for. I guess just calling out Squish insulting humans a little there, but Mike isn’t a human, so… I don’t know. Anyways, we’re in control again now! We have Squish’s keys, which I’ll show you once we actually go down this route. To progress, we just head outside and use them to call his shuttle, and we’re off. Now, let’s rewind a bit, before we agreed to help Squish. Let’s see who else needs help.

That’s right, Josie! She was talking to Doc about… what was it again?
Hi, Jake.
You’re talking about beans.
Right, beans! …beans?
It’s my opinion that chocolate – you know chocolate, right? Theobroma Cacao, which translates to “Food of the Gods”?
Hey, no proselytizing!
Yes, I am familiar with chocolate.
Doc, on the other hand, seems to feel that coffee…
Oh, well, when you sai it that way…I think that coffee – at least, the way Mike makes a God’s Blessing – is easily superior to chocolate. More complex. More sophisticated. Less reliant on sweeteners and vanilla, and other additives. And lecithin, an emulsifier.
Coffee is so pedestrian. And chocolate has a lot less caffeine. What do you think, Jake?
1. I refuse to get involved.
2. They’re both really, really terrific flavors, okay? Sheesh/
3. If I tell you which one I really prefer, one of you is going to be pissed.
…These are all basically the same, Jake. Unfortunately the first two just make Josie and Doc sass us, then boot us from the conversation. We have to beat them to the punch and tell them we know they’re going to be mad.
That doesn’t matter. Just speak your mind.
Yeah, just be honest. Don’t worry about losing one of us as a friend over something as trivial as this.
Yeah! You’ve got plenty of friends! You can afford to lose at least one.
I know they’re just pulling our leg here, but come on you two. This is really just small beans, you know?
Well, I guess I prefer chocolate…on a more sensuous level.
That’s not me choosing, Jake honestly prefers chocolate, apparently.
This is anecdotal evidence, it doesn’t prove anything.
If he had said he liked the coffee better, you wouldn’t think so.
Oh, of course I would.
How did this all come up?
Josie reaches into her pocket and unfolds a small brochure, which she then hands to you.
This is from my time, Jake.
Remember, Josie is a member of the Time Police. She’s from far in the future.
You skim the brochure. It’s an ad for a brand of chocolate you’ve never heard of. It also outlines the process by which chocolate is manufactured, from bean to bar.
Here, look at this paragraph.
She snatches back the brochure and points to a particular paragraph, which she shoves in your face.
“The world’s greatest chocolate is believed to have been grown in one small area in the Brazilian rainforest. Unfortunately, this discovery was made too late to save the grove of trees (later designated “Theobroma Cacao Ultimisaurum”), and exists only in a couple of pods too damaged to be viable.”
“The loss of these trees to the chocolate world can never be estimated, as they were destroyed by the Faxon-Casteroga Pencil Company during its clear-cutting operations in Boa Vista.”
The world’s greatest chocolate… Well if it was lost in the future, let’s go get some now!
It goes on to reveal when the grove was believed to have been destroyed.
When’s that?
…Oh. That’ll make things harder.
This tomorrow? You mean, tomorrow tomorrow?
That’d be the one. I think we should head right over to Faxon-Casteroga headquarters in Manhattan and stop them.
It’s nighttime.
Doesn’t have to be,
Whaddaya say, Jake? Wanna come along? You’re a folk singer. You know how to raise your voice in protest against the pig-dogs of the fascist military-industrial complex.
Interesting words from a cop.
You with me, or not?
Sure, why not? Maybe we’ll go down in history.
All right.
It’s a wild goose chase, I tell ya.
You ready to start, or do you want to stick around for a bit?
This is our point of no return, if we didn’t have a save waiting for us. This one’s a lot shorter than Squish’s speech after the decision.
Ready when you are, JB.
Great! Say your goodbyes, if you want, and let’s get out of here.
And that’s it. We can leave the bar to head out with Josie to Manhattan, and hopefully save the world’s greatest chocolate. Let’s rewind once more, and talk to the last person currently in the bar with a problem for us.

Mike Callahan himself! He’s come out from behind the bar, so let’s see what’s up. He mentioned it a little when we last talked, actually. We open with some of the same stuff as before, but let’s see what else he says

Well, let’s see. Josie’s all in snit over something, you could see what that’s all about. We’ve got the two drop-ins, they could probably use some chatting up. Or you could go see what’s keeping Pyotr.
So, again, the drop-ins he means are Squish, who we already saw what was up with, and the dirty, scruffy guy at the end of the bar, who still has nothing to say. Mike is still ignoring the third newcomer, the Biker who we spouted exposition at for a while. That guy also has nothing important for us, and we already talked to Josie, so let’s see about Pyotr!
You want me to go see if Pyotr’s home?
You know, he’s been down lately.
How can you tell?
Yeah, he’s cynical, but this is worse than that. I wonder…
Well, okay…figure it this way. The guy is…what, 80 years old? A hundred? Two hundred? And he’s alone. He’s always alone.
Doesn’t seem to bother him. He never says anything about it.
Up until a couple weeks ago, I would’ve agreed with you. Now, I’m not so sure.
Tell you what. You want to do me a huge favor, great, go get him, bring him back here. But only when you’re ready. Don’t say yes 'til you’re sure you’re ready to take off.
Already at the decision for this quest! We’ll get some more info about what to do once we say yes.
Mike, I’m at your disposal. Tell me what you want me to do, and I’m there.
Great. Now, you know where Pyotr lives, right? Couple of miles down the 'pike?
Good. Hop in your truck and head over there. If Pyotr’s there, see if you can get him to come back to the bar. If he won’t come, see if you can find out why…but don’t pry, y’know?
Of course Mike, we wouldn’t think of it.
Eddie’s got me well-trained.
Now if he’s NOT there, this is bad. See if you can find any clue as to where he might be.
Why are you so worried about him?
He told me something in confidence that I don’t want to have to share with you unless there’s no way around it. 'Nuff said?
Yeah, I’m on my way.
I’ll be back in a flash.
Hope so.
And that’s our third option, go find Pyotr and see what’s got him so down. We just have to hop in our truck outside, and head down to his house. We’ll rewind once more, just so we can make whatever choice we decide.

and that’s our next step: this is a choice! We can do these missions in any order, so I leave it to you, readers, to decide! Shall we…

1. Take Noah with us to the satellite to disable it and restore the Earth’s testosterone?
2. Go with Jodie to Manhattan to try and save the only trees bearing the world’s greatest chocolate?
3. Head off on our own to find Pyotr, learn what’s wrong, and hopefully get our designated driver back to Callahan’s?

Vote for which path we should take, I’ll close the voting 48 hours from this post, and return with the first step on that quest within a day or two of that!

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I could actually do with less testosterone to be perfectly honest with you :V Though helping out a nice alien does seem pretty tempting. Of course, I have to cast my vote for option three since actually living with an old person makes me inclined to help out other nice old people.

Yeah, I only managed to guess Aerosmith, and only half of it at that, the other half I just assumed.

It’s clear what the most important problem here is. You’ve gotta save the chocolate before it’s too late. It’s objectively the best chocolate!

Option 3 Vampire bro might have gone batty!

I’m glad to see the thread is after my own heart. I’m pretty sure I’ve done the Pyotr story first every single time I’ve played this game. Now, the game manual actually gives a title to each story which isn’t ever used in game, but I quite like most of them. This one is a little spoilery, but it’s too good to not include, so join me for…

Adventures of a Lovesick Vampire

So, we have a little bit of advance knowledge of what’s up with Pyotr, but if your mind is already churning thinking about what it could be… you’re probably at least slightly off. There’s a few twists and turns in this adventure, so let’s get right to it!

…Well, after a quick recap, in case anyone happens to read these out of order since they’re not interconnected. So, Mike Callahan is worried about Pyotr, our vampire pal and designated driver. He’s asked us to go to the guy’s home and check on him, and try to bring him back to the bar. So let’s just step outside, and turn to the right a bit to find our truck

_It’s not this jeep, it’s the pickup to the left of it. We can just hop in and drive, and since we’re on this mission…

You hop in your truck and drive a couple miles down 25A to Pyotr’s place.

And here we are. There’s… a lot of luggage out here. More than necessary for just a vacation. In fact, if we turn to the left…

Oh no… that pun name is so painful… Oh, also, Pyotr is moving! Where could he be going to? Let’s see if this truck has any more information…

York-Easter is the premier international overnight shipping service. This is one of their proud fleet!
International!? Pyotr, where on Earth are you going!? Maybe the driver will know, but first let’s get a look at him.

Although this driver, Phillip Oscar Thigdury, is the senior driver in the York-Easter Fleet, he still has acne that makes him look like an adolescent.
Which is why, everywhere he goes, they call him…
I’m really not
Phil O. Thigdury, the Acne of Da Fleet!
(Oh, God, stop him before he puns again!)
Okay, this one took ages to figure out. The best thing I can find, which is still not even that great, is that this is a huge stretch of a play on words for “Thrill of victory, agony of defeat.” It would explain why the description itself is warning us how bad of a pun it is, but thank goodness most of the puns in this game are better quality than this. Let’s just… talk to the guy.

You try to strike up a friendly conversation with the driver by commenting on how late he’s working. “Do you see anybody working?” he asks
Then his brow furrows. “You’re not from YE, are you?” After you assure him that you don’t even know what YE is, he explains that York-Easter has been cracking down on the drivers for every little violation, and he never knows when he’s being spied on.
You ask him about Pyotr. All he knows is that the owner is supposedly in, or on his way to, the Transylvanian Alps in Romania, and that he’s having his stuff shipped there overnight at tremendous expense.
Transylvania!? Pyotr, why didn’t you tell anyone before moving all the way back home!?

Alright, I feel I should interject here for a moment. While our friendly neighborhood vampire is a pretty important part of Callahan’s Place, within the actual stories he only really played a major role in one, and his vampirism was… less literal than the game takes it. In the stories, he actually has a genetic condition that makes it so his main source of nutrition is filtering other people’s blood through special glands in his teeth. Of course, this is rarely mentioned and the books basically never talk about Pyotr’s home or life beyond what brought him to Callahan’s, so the game took some liberties with the whole vampire thing. Personally, I think it makes for better story here, so I’m alright with it.

The tall crate to the left of the truck has a few options, but nothing that matters or is too clever, so let’s just move on to the house.

Holy…! The door has quite a lot of options. Most of them are simply one line responses with “The door is (blank)-proof.” but a few of them are interesting. Let’s look at these:

Kick in
You’re not exactly David Carradine
Remove hinges from
The hinges are on the inside (Of course they are, Jake)
Slide under
You must be thinking of that game, "Plastic Man’s Crosstime Saloon."
Deliberately ignore
You ignore the door. The moment your head is turned away, you think you see it open out of the corner of your eye. But when you look back at it again, it’s closed
And finally, Talk To
There isn’t any way to get you to open up at all, is there?
That’s right.
I was beginning to suspect as much. Thanks anyway.

Well then. Let’s just… move on? There’s some newspapers here, since Pyotr hasn’t been around to take them. Jake wants to pick them up, since a pile of newspapers attracts burglard, but he gets scared off by a bug. We can, however, try to read them.
Don’t read in the dark, it’s bad for your eyes*
*The next time somebody tells you not to read in the dark, tell them you heard in a computer game that it’s actually perfectly OK to read in the dark. They’ll really respect your knowledge.
That sounds like a bad idea, but I’ll keep it tucked away. Let’s try the crate on the ground that says… Spider Girl?

Ooh, according to the writing on the side, this crate is carrying a "Spider Girl"
Don’t let the Spider Girl out. She might bite.
Knock on
You rap on the crate
No response
Spider Girl?
Still nothing.
Spider Robinson?
I mentioned, Spider Robinson appeared in the stories, as himself, so Jake knows him. He’s not in this crate though.
Okay, fine.
And let’s try to take it.
As you struggle to lift the crate, you consider Callahan’s reaction should you return to the bar with a big box of Spider Girl instead of your friend Pyotr. Somehow, you doubt he’ll be satisfied with that, so you decide to leave it there where it is. Besides, you’re aggravating your hernia.
Alright alright, let’s move along. There’s only one important piece of luggage around here.

This steamer trunk. Let’s go through the motions with it.

The steamer trunk is bound with bolts and straps and a hasp in front, looking as if it would take a long time to open. One wonders why the lock in front wasn’t enough. If it contains something of great value, why leave it to the tender mercies of the shipping company?
The driver belches a warning at you to stay away from the boxes.
Knock On
You knock on the trunk.
Not only is there no response, but the thing sounds hollow. The driver arches an eyebrow at you, shakes his head, and returns to his sandwich.
…Hollow? Why would you lock an empty trunk with so many different devices? There must be more to this than there seems…
Get in
The driver seems on the edge of 'urling that sausage-and-onion sub right at you; better not fiddle with the luggage 'till he’s out of sight.
We can also mess with the bolts on the front, but the driver stops us there as well. We’ll need to get him to leave…

There’s also a window here, we can Look at, Open, Close, Break, or Enter it. None of them do anything except for Open.
The window seems to give just slightly.
Aha! Let’s try it again!
The window definitely gives a tiny bit, but it’s stuck, as if it’s been painted shut.
Come on, Jake, put your back into it!
Putting a little elbow into it, the window finally slides uneasily open a few inches.
Aha! Now we can try to use that phone! …Unfortunately, it’s too far to reach. We’ll need something to grab it…

Well, that should do just fine.
The '87 Ford CA series was the only one to come with a factory-installed coathanger antenna. This has the clever advantage of making it very unlikely that anyone’s going to try to steal it.
You pull the antenna out of the hole. There goes your high-fidelity sound system.
Alright! Now we can hook the phone closer to us! Let’s see who we can call… Our options are “911,” “0,” “info,” and “KL5-3972.” 911 gives us an odd joke about gun control that I legitimately can’t tell what stance it’s supposed to be taking and don’t really want to include. Here’s the rest in order.

You dial the operator who angrily barks that service is supposed to be turned off at this number. She swears to the heavens that she’ll have the service off within 2 - 4 hours come hell or high water, or her name isn’t Operator 12. Then she hangs up on you.
Ouch. He already got his phone line cancelled too… Let’s try info
Thank you for using ATCI. What city?
It’s somewhere on Long Island, I think. York-Easter Van Lines.
I’m sorry, I’ll need a city.
What if I don’t know the city?
Then you don’t know the number, either.
Ouch. Well, the last option is… our own phone number?
This is Jake. If you don’t mind talking to a machine, leave a message. Otherwise, try me again later.
Hey, me, this is me. Just enjoying being in two places at once. I should be home soon, I don’t think I’ll be too much longer. Bye.
Jake, that’s not how answering machines work. That recording is not you in another place, you should know this, you dork.

Well, it looks like we need to find some other number to call. In fact, let’s look at the moving van again. The ramp is retractable, so it doesn’t drag along while driving. If we push it up, it reveals a bumper sticker!
The bumper sticker says "How’s my driving? Call KLondike 5-0931."
Aha! There’s our number! Let’s try the phone again!
York-Easter Van Lines. “Don’t Strain on Your Next Big Move; Think of York-Easter First!”
I’ve never heard of your company before.
Well, I don’t see how that could be. York-Easter is the biggest in town.
These jokes are gonna keep coming as long as we’re dealing with this company…
I’m surprised there’s anybody in the office this late.
York-Easter is always open, sir. How may I help you?
I’d like to register a complaint about one of your drivers.
Aha! This is how we’ll get him out of here, at least for long enough for us to investigate.
I see. Well, we’ll be happy to contact him immediately if you can give me the license number of the truck.
I’m sorry, I didn’t catch it.
Well, I’m sorry, sir, but – and this is a very big but – I can’t be sure which of our drivers is at fault without knowing the license number.
But should this ever happen again, you can find it mounted on the rear.
Thank you. I looked at the bumper sticker, I should’ve looked at the license plate, too. I feel like an ass.
Quite all right, hindsight is 20-20.
With that, she hangs up.
Well, crap. Jake’s right, we should have looked at it, but we still can. It’s right above the driver, let’s take a look.
The truck’s license plate, hard to see in the dim evening light, is YEVL 117. It appears to be a New York plate.
_now then, let’s call again, and jump to asking about the plate.**

Did you have the license plate number, sir?
Yes, that was YEVL117.
Just a moment, please.
Okay, we have that driver, sir, and what was the problem with his driving?
He was weaving all over the road.
Oh, dear. Did he appear drunk?
No, he was eating.
Tsh, tsh. We’ll contact him immediately.
Thank you.

And the call ends. At this point, nothing will happen until we wait for the company to call the driver. We can make this happen by interacting in any way with any object, but instead let’s use a feature not mentioned yet. If we hit the “W” key, we wait. Just one tick, to let something happen.

The moving man’s beeper goes off. His jaw drops open, his mouth full of sandwich. He says something that sounds like “Ul thip!” and walks around into the truck’s cab to call into his dispatcher.
Ah beepers. Back in the day where the closest to a cell phone you had was someone texting you a “Call me ASAP.” Now that he’s gone, let’s fiddle with that steamer trunk!

All the options with the trunk are the same, but now if we pull on the bolts…
The bolts slide out a half-inch, and there is a soft but significant click.
Huh? Well, maybe we can open it now?
The front panel swings forward along a concealed hinge along the base. Goodness, how disillusioning.
Of course, that’s why it has all the pointless locks! This trunk is made for a magician, with a secret mechanism to lock a secret door. Well, let’s climb inside I guess.
With the driver out of the way, you’re able to step into the trunk and pull the front closed… and it clicks shut. You spend about a minute trying to figure out how to get out again when you hear the moving man return and angrily finish loading up the truck.
That includes the trunk you’re in. You spend the next 24 hours or so being buffeted about, subjected to freezing temperatures, dropped, and generally treated like a piece of meat.
As you do, you constantly say to yourself…
Jake Stonebender… to the Florescu!
That… That’s Pyotr’s last name, just so you know. I didn’t remember that at first, but it gets mentioned soon. And after that line, the scene shifts.

Confidence and power, as if you could easily stow away on any ol’ tramp steamer or freight train.
Excitement, as you realize that you have discovered a new, very inexpensive way to travel anywhere…
Panic and nausea, as you realize that you’re halfway around the world with no money at all, not even the number of a nice credit card lady who can make travel reservations, get you replacement credit cards, or send you prescription refills.
Jake apparently forgot the sweet twenty-one bucks we have on us!
But mostly, you feel a surge of anticipation as the truck you’re in slows down, the tires crunching and popping on gravel, the possible sign of a driveway rather than another loading dock. You duck back into the trunk as the driver sets the brake and turns off the engine.
Sure enough, although you can’t make out the words , the voices outside the truck have familiar inflections of finality and relief. None of the voices sounds like that of your friend, Pyotr.
The trunk you’re in is unloaded. Awhile later, when you stop hearing the sounds of people in the immediate vicinity, you cautiously emerge from the trunk.
We made it! But who would be talking to the mover besides Pyotr himself?

I was going to knock and inform you that you could come out, Master Stonebender, but I was afraid I might give you heart failure.
Ah! An unknown voice! We spin around 180 to see who it is.

This is Pyotr’s family butler. His name is never actually given to us, but it comes up in some descriptions later. He’s… Chives.

Are you all right?
Yes, but…no, I mean… I’m confused.
I’m so sorry. Perhaps you didn’t know we were expecting you. Master Pyotr informed us you were coming.
He did.
He did?
Yes. I believe his exact words were, “A man named Jake Stonebender has done something very ill-advised. When he arrives and gets out of my Substitution Trunk, treat him with utmost respect but inform him that his trip was unnecessary.”
I am then to make arrangements to have you sent back to America immediately…first class, of course.
He did.
Huh. Well, if he knew me well enough to know I was coming for him, he shoulda known me well enough to know I wouldn’t leave without him.
That’s okay, I know what I’m talking about.
Of course. Well, Master Florescu anticipated you would refuse to depart for at least awhile. Feel free to have a look around, and make use of Master Florescu’s trap and driver if you wish. Let me know when I can make your return reservations.
And now we’re free to move around! Just so you know, Pyotr isn’t psychic or anything. As Jake said, he just knows his friend so well he could predict that he’d find a way to follow, and put the pieces together to guess that this would be how. Now, this update has been pretty long already, but the next one is likely to be about the same length so we’re gonna push on a little farther.

Yes, Master Stonebender?
Where is Pyotr?
I’m not precisely certain.
Can you give me an idea?
There’s not that much to do downtown anymore, and therefore, not many places he’s likely to be.
After all those documentaries were made about this part of the world back in the 30’s and 40’s, tourist travel dropped off nearly completely.
The Master’s family nearly went broke.
What line of business were they in?
They’d get the villagers all in a flap about someone with a deformity, or someone whose house got hit by a lot of lightning, or just anyone with a castle who liked to work in his attic, see? So whole one of the Florescus is out there agitating, the rest of t
It cuts off there. Maybe a programming error, maybe a mistake in the script that wasn’t caught? Either way, that’s kind of a shitty business? The Florescus are vampires, too, so it seems like a weird choice.
And the torches, see, they don’t last more than ten minutes, then you need another one. And ten minutes is nothing, a good mobbing goes at least an hour, sometimes three if there’s women and children.
This is how they made their fortune?
Couple of good mobbings would set them up for a year. But they got these mobs going sometimes once, twice a week, all year round. Do the math.
Honestly, it’s no wonder Pyotr moved to America and ended up with some pretty awful habits, if this is the family he left behind…
What an original way to make a fortune.
No, actually they were copying something the Hearsts had been doing in the United States for a long time.
Time for my History degree to come in to play! “A long time” is a weird way to put it, if the 30’s were nearing the end of the Florescus’ industry. William Randolph Hearst didn’t really start doing Yellow journalism until 1900 or so. If the Florescus were copying him, and he had already been going a long time, they likely didn’t start until the 20s, maybe even the early 30’s. A pretty short-lived enterprise, but I guess if they were as successful as Chives says, that’s all they needed.
Oh, well, when the movies started coming out, business boomed, for awhile. Then they started running low on people to mob. So they had a cooling-off period, and then they just started getting used to the eccentrics. It got harder to work up a good murderous froth about the fellow next door just because his bed had a lid on it or he had party lighting or something.
Wait, so… The movies started coming out in the 30’s, which cause tourists to stop coming and the town to close most of its businesses, but simultaneously that was when the Florescu family had their boom? I’m probably over-analyzing this, but the timeline really doesn’t make much sense, and it’s probably because they didn’t expect people from 30 years in the future with too much time on their hands to be reading into it this closely.
They tried to establish a business in the United States, particularly in the South, but it never took off to the extent it had here. Now Taiwan makes just about every torch in the world.
This… Okay, I’m gonna stop. Talking to Chives is just about the most confusing thing possible, and Jake regularly hangs out with aliens.
This has been very informative.
You’re welcome.
Thank you.

Okay! We have other options to talk to Chives about, but instead let’s just ransack the place and move on. If we turn left…

A couple things to grab over here! The painting isn’t important, but the box in front of it is.
An ornate box painted with glossy colors.
Well, let’s take it.
I suppose it’s natural for people who travel in boxes to be a little grabby of other people’s possessions.
I’ll return it.
Umm…what is it?
One of the Master’s magic tricks, I believe.
In fact, it is! Another item we pick up here explains, it’s a box to be placed on an assistant’s head, and when you open the door in front it appears that they have no head! All the items we pick up in this room, like the box we came in, are related to stage magic. It turns out Pyotr is quite a magician, a hobby I can absolutely get behind. Fun fact about Babs, she looooooves stage magic. Speaking of, the two chalkboards on the ground are another trick, the spirit slates!

A pair of old-fashioned schoolhouse-style wooden slates lie here.
You take the slates
Will that be all, or are you still browsing?
I’m still browsing.
Chives, after that long, confusing, and really terrible story you told us, we’ll do whatever we like around here to help Pyotr, including borrowing his tools. Now, let’s turn back to the right, past Chives, and see what we can find.

What’s this book here?
A large book is sitting open among the effluvium of Pyotr’s life.
_That… is a weird comment. Either he’s misusing the word effluvium, or really insulting Pyotr’s stuff. Anyways, let’s take it.
You close the old book and take it. Chives watches you out of the corner of his eye, but says nothing.
That’s better, Chives. We can either Thumb through or Flip through it, giving us explanations of two different tricks. We’ll look through it later, but one of those tricks is the headless box we grabbed. One last spot to look in the house, a bit more to the right.

A box! We can try to take it, but it’s kind of broken and will probably fall apart if we do. Let’s just open it instead.

J-jackpot! Okay Chives, I’ll let you talk again, what’s this box!?

Excuse me.
What are these?
Palming coins, sir. The Master uses sleight-of-hand to make these appear out of thin air.
Really? How’s he do it?
Oh, right.
Ah, just palming coins. Well, we might as well grab a few.
You take a handful of the palming coins.
Are you a magician, sir?
Oh. I couldn’t help but admire the way you make things disappear.
Ouch. Well, let’s get out of the manor. Let’s turn back to where we were originally facing basically.

Here’s the last stuff to look at while we’re at the manor. That’s the trap and driver that Chives mentioned we have access to. Let’s have a chat.

Good evening. Are you the one I talk to about…
Drivin’? ‘At’s me, sir. I’m the Driver. Would you be wantin’ me services?
That’s just fine, sir. I’m just a little surprised, is all.
Why’s that?
Well, you and Master both arrivin’ in boxes and all, I figured you’d be, y’know, takin’ it on the wing, so to speak.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, sir.
No, I’m not like that.
Oh. Okay, sir, I believe you sir.
Were you wantin’ to go somewhere now, sir?
Hoooo, wow, what a weird place to put in this… joke. To my knowledge there aren’t any gay characters in the Callahan’s series, but it never made this type of joke or anything really anti-gay. This, on the other hand, is… It kind of goes against the whole idea of Callahan’s Place, where everyone is there to help out everyone. (Except anarchists. Spider Robinson had… kind of a thing about anarchists) Well, let’s just… move on
Let’s go downtown.
Straight away, Sir.
The trap trundles townward.
The rough dirt road gives way to cobblestones, and presently, the driver reins the horses to a stop.
Ere we go, sir. “But Lord! how everybody’s looks, and discourse in the street is of death, and nothing else; and few people going up and down, that the town is like a place distressed and forsaken.”
At’s Pepys, sir. But 'e puts such a negative spin on it.
That would be Samuel Pepys, since most people probably don’t know, talking about the Great Plague of London. A pretty damn reasonable thing to be negative about.

Nufing, sir. 'Ats Snafu, sir. Situation normal, all f…
That one’s military slang. SNAFU, “Situation’s Normal, All F-ed Up”
I know, but… this is normal?
Well, not entirely, sir. Everybody’s a bit spiffed up for the weekend, y’know. Got their best bib-‘n-tuckers on. Anyway I’ll be waitin’ right 'ere. sir, when you’re ready to push on.
You’re just going to sit here?
Oh, got me magazine and me Corn Nuts, I’m good. 'Ave fun, sir.
You step down out of the trap and start to look around.
The magazing he’s reading is “Trap and Driver” by the way. Possibly the weakest pun that doesn’t require extensive research to understand.

And now, next time, we get to explore downtown Transylvania! There’s quite a few places to go and things to do down here, including the two places right in front of us, “Starbucharest’s” and “Wereworth’s.” I’ll be back with that before long, so stay tuned.


I love how he just watches you take stuff, i noticed he has a notepad and paper can we try to take that? we might need it for adventure reasons.

I’d never heard of Callahan’s before this LP, so I thought for sure this was going to be about a Cheers-type bar when I started reading it. I was getting extremely confused by the time the aliens showed up.

Enjoying this game so far, thanks for showing it off!

Having said that, I’m not sure I share Spider Robinson’s sense of humour.

Sadly, his notepad doesn’t get its own interactions. Otherwise, I’d absolutely try to take it from him.

I’d also like to take a moment at the start of this update to mention, since I realized I haven’t yet, that despite how close this game feels to the books, Spider Robinson surprisingly had nothing to do with its creation. According to a foreword he wrote in the manual, he originally thought his books would be impossible to adapt into a game, and planned to just collect his check and forget it existed. Then one day the creator brought the full game over before it was released, they sat down and powered through the entire thing and he loved every second of it. So, I guess, despite it not technically written by Spider Robinson, he gave his blessing to the whole thing after seeing it.

Now, let’s return to Transylvania. We have a bit to explore! We can head into Starbucharest’s or Wereworth’s, and we will, but knowing Pyotr like we do, that’s not where he’d be. No, he’d be a bit more to our left…

The local tavern! It seems… pretty familiar.
A curiously familiar sign hangs on this curiously familiar building. It appears to be the local tavern. You know, the place where everyone knows you’re numb.
The sign says, in curiously familiar handwriting, "Casimir’s."
How curious… Well, let’s go in!
You walk up to the entrance, but the bouncer puts out a hand to stop you.
Me not know you. Show curse mark!
Pardon me?
Tonight Curse Night! Must have curse mark! Otherwise no admittance!
Foiled by a bouncer! Let’s find out more about what’s happening.

Stonebender. Jake Stonebender.
You bend stone? Me BREAK stone!
What’s the cover charge?
Tonight Curse night! Must have curse! Get in free!
So it’s like Lady’s Night.
I agree, Tor. That was a bad joke. But… what’s this about curses?
What’s this about needing a curse to get in?
Must have mark of curse!
Where do I get a Curse Mark?

Aaaaand here’s where I pause for a moment. This is the first, though I think also the only, time I’m gonna be editing this game a bit. From here through most of the chapter, they’re pretty heavy on the word “Gypsy.” I imagine that random DOS game makers in 1997 didn’t even know that the Roma existed, so I can’t really fault them too much for it, but I’d rather not be typing it out as often as it shows up here. She also ends up being a stereotype of an entirely different group, anways. Because of that, I’ll be referring to her as the “Old Magic Woman” most of the time, or something similar.
Old Woman.
Old Magic Woman.

And that’s all we can do here until we have a curse mark, so that’s our first objective! If we shift to the left…

There’s the trap and driver, waiting to take us anywhere we’d like. We can have him take us to the old woman’s place, but we don’t have the necessary items to get a curse mark from her yet. There’s nothing else of import or interest here, so let’s turn once more.

A bounty hunter? What’s his deal?
This dull-witted, heavily-armed tough is wandering the streets, keeping his eyes cast low to the ground.
You ask the muscular moke what he’s looking for, and he tells you that he survives on a diet of nocturnal orcs, grues, and gnomes.
In other words, he’s merely out for a moonlight’s troll.
I think that hurt more than anything he could have done to us… Now, let’s check this barrel out.

This barrel contains sand for the streets when they get icy in winter. It’s one of two donated to the town by the local representative of the Visiting Shogun Association, and they’re both conveniently located between the two slickest streets in town.
(Surely you’ve hears of a double-barreled shogun? They got both barrels, right between the ice.)
They never stop. Ever. Let’s just open the damn thing.

You peek inside, but all you see is sand. What were you expecting, a barrel of monkeys?
Or maybe a cask of characters?
After all, you certainly get no keg from champagne.
Agreed, Jake. We can also sit next to it?

The other beggars say, “That’s usually Cameron’s spot, but he has the night off. Go ahead and try your luck.” You take them at their word and squat next to the barrel.
So, if we need to, we can sit here and beg for money. Nothing comes of it for now, so let’s just take a look at who said that.

You ask the beggars if you can beg here. The woman sputters. The man tells you that begging is permitted only from the barrel to the corner. And, he adds gruffly, since Cameron is home tonight battling a mild case of good health, you can have his spot if you don’t mind sitting by the barrel.
A bit more detail. That’s it for the outside, so now we can head into the two shops. We’ll start with Starbucharest’s, where there’s quite a bit to see.

The canopy informs you that this is Starbucharest’s which you presume is supposed to be a parody of some sort.
Probably a knock-off of the name of that famous Jet-Eye Knight, Luke Starbucker ®©™.
It’s hard to imagine, but this game actually came out barely two years before Phantom Menace. I wonder if they would have changed that reference if it came out after…

A bit fancier than the American version of this store, that’s for sure. Let’s look at the fellow right here.

The man at the counter looks utterly normal. He must be lost.
You begin to start a conversation with the man. He looks at you and starts to speak in a friendly and conversational tone about the lights he saw in the sky last night.
Suddenly, his neck begins to bulge, and a purplish-green tentacle snakes out of his mouth and slaps him across the face a few times. Then it slips back into his mouth and down his throat.
Chastened, he immediately grows sullen and turns away from you.
Yikes. Looks like we really are the most normal person around here. Starbucharest’s and Wereworth’s both have… a lot of things to examine and interact with. Almost none of them are essential, so I’ll be showing the vast majority off in an extra update once we finish this mission, along with some more stuff from the mansion. Let’s turn a bit to the right, where that magazine is floating.

Okay, not floating, being help up by a man. He’s not important, though. The one who matters is the lovely lady at the next table over.
The woman’s eyes reflect a bleak, careworn spirit.
Aww… We can also kiss her, for some reason, but let’s… not? Let’s just talk to her.

Excuse me for interrupting. My name is Jake.
It’s nice to meet you, Jake.
She offers her hand, and you shake it gently. Her skin is cool and dry.
Cool? Weird for someone drinking coffee…
What are you drinking?
This? It’s a private blend they make for me here.
Would you care to try some?
Yes, I think I’d like to.
She slides her drink over to you, and you take a sip from the side opposite hers. It’s coffee, all right, but has an unpleasant metallic taste…as if there were pennies in the bottom of the cup.
She looks at you expectantly as you slide the cup back towards her
I was going to say, “It’s not my cup of tea”…
That’s all right. I didn’t expect it would be.
Weird metallic taste, cold skin… Wait, could she be a…? Well, maybe she knows Pyotr!

I’m looking for a gentleman named Pyotr.
She hesitates, then shakes her head.
I’m sorry, I don’t know anybody named Pyotr.
I’m given to understand it’s a common name here.
It is a common name. I know several Pyotrs in Brasov. I just don’t happen to know of any in town.
Suspicious hesitation and going back on what she said? I get the feeling she does know something.
Are you positive you don’t know a Pyotr?
Moved to the United States? Used to live in Castle Florescu?
She hesitates again, and this time, the silence speaks the answer before she can.
Yes. I believe I knew a Pyotr who lived in Castle Florescu. But this was a long time ago, and he hasn’t lived in Romania in over half a cent…
Well, in a long time.
She’s also covering up that she knows pretty accurately when he left. She must be connected to him somehow, but we can’t figure it out yet. Let’s move on for now.

Before we talk to the clerk, there’s eight bins of coffee behind the glass to the left. I’ll show the rest of them off later, but one gets a bit more description.

According to the sign, these beans are for "Molten Lava Mocha Java.
What’s the Moleten Lava Mocha Java?
Habanero-flavored espresso brewed at 500 degrees. And of course I am now obligated by my insurance company to warn you that the coffee is served very hot.
And she does mean very hot. So hot just discussing it led to a dropped quotation mark and a typo within two lines! We can talk to her about a lot of stuff, but the only one that matters is our friend!

You know a guy named Pyotr?
Tall, thin, blonde guy?
Oh, the short, heavyset guy with the frizzy red hair?
This guy’s medium-build, medium height, dark hair. Fangs.
Sorry. I know a lot of Pyotrs, but none of them are medium anything.
Damn. Well, just one more part of Starbucharest’s to look at.

Here’s well, everything we came here for right now. The rest we’ll be back for later. (You can also see the jar and chalkboard over on the right all the way to the left when we first came in, so we know we’ve made a full circle) Let’s take a look at this weird plant in the middle.
That’s odd, you so rarely see wolfbane in bloom this time of year.
You reach over and pluck a blossom off the wolfbane plant.
This isn’t a real plant, it’s silk!
The plant looks offended.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

We have a fake wolfbane blossom! Now, this is an adventure game, so let’s swipe the only other thing we can really see.
A giant stick o’ chalk was used to create the menu of specials.
You take the chalk
No fanfare or anything, just… we take the chalk. Let’s head over to Wereworth’s now, and see what it has to offer.

Wow. Like I said, there’s a hell of a lot to see in here, and I’m gonna be leaving most of it to show off later. Let’s start right away by shifting left.

Oh, sweet, one of those little rides for kids they have outside supermarkets! Can we…
A battered old Spaceship amusement ride sits to one side. On the side is painted, “Junior Time Traveler Astro-Ship!” The guts are hanging out here and there, and there are cobwebs over the seats.
Unfortunately, it appears as if you have to put money into it. Real money.
Damn, our palming coins won’t fit the slot. Well, let’s instead shift to the right of the start.

Ah! That’s the clerk, I guess! Let’s, uh… well, let’s just try to buy… anything.

Let’s see some bani.
Some what?
Bani. The official currency of Romania?
That’s… Actually shockingly almost right. More accurate than expected, at least. Romania actually uses a currency called the Ramanian Leu. However, each Leu is 100 bani, and “bani” is also used to just mean money. So while not quite perfect, it’s like using pence instead of pounds, as opposed to using something completely made up.
I didn’t know that.
And we don’t accept palming coins. You’d be amazed at how many people around here try to pass those things off as money. It’s horrible. Makes you want to bite their toes off, doesn’t it?
Well then. Let’s just look a bit instead of trying to buy. Down at the bottom left…

Available here is a delightful selection of herbal teas with medicinal effects. Among them are Sumac (great as a sore throat soother), So Long Blackheads Comfrey Blend, Farewell Elephantitis with Fenugreek, and Tanna Leaf (a common old-time remedy for Black Hairy Tongue).
Fancy! How about just to the left of the clerk?

A rackful of temporary tattoos hangs on the wall. They depict body parts, reptiles, insects, vehicles, and various geometric shapes.
Neat! We’ll have to come back for one of these, I guess! Now, one thing is pretty clearly on display here.

The wax lips are exaggeratedly full and bee-stung, and they give off a faint, sickly wintergreen scent.
We’ll need a pair of these, too. Let’s get on with the clerk, then…

**Before you is a ghoulish bone-and-gristle creature who runs the store. He looks at you hungrily as he introduces himself as Frank Detweiller
But you can call me “Skinless Frank.” Everybody does.
Where have I sinew before?
I don’t know, but people have a tendon, see, to say that.
**Your mind reels as you try to fit the words “ligament” and “cartilage” cleverly into a sentence, but what you come up with is too wretched even for THIS game.
Well, that was a marrow escape.
_Now that that’s done with, let’s actually talk to him.

Pardon me?
I said, “What can I get you?”
I’m looking for somebody named Pyotr. Do you know him?
Do you have a last name?
I’m not sure. Florescu, maybe? He lives in Castle Florescu.
Jake says this, but he made the “To the Florescu” joke before really knowing where he was being shipped, so I have to assume he had reason to believe this is Pyotr’s name.
Wow, I thought it was a theme restaurant now.
I don’t think I know him. You want me to keep an eye out for him?
No problem. Which one should I take?
I thought we were speaking figuratively.
Oh. Well, can’t blame a guy for trying.
Do people ever comment on your…complexion…issues?
Nope. But everyone always asks me if anybody ELSE comments on it.
Alright, we’re done here until we have some money. So let’s get some money! We can sit by the barrel like the beggars said, but unless we have a sign, nobody will know what we’re doing. We can take our chalk and write on the spirit slate!

_There’s a lot of options here, but only one will do anything. The other beggars all have "Help! I have no ___", so let’s follow suit with “Help! I Have no Head!”
You scrawl the message on the slate.
Well, now we have a sign. But, uh, we also have a head. Luckily, the book we took from the mansion has a section on this!

In performance, the assistant’s head is clearly seen through the front of the box (Figure A). Her hands support the box where it rests upon her shoulders. Magi closes the box. The moment this is done, the Assistant draws the mirrors closed about her face (Figure B), a small movement easily covered. If desired, daggers may be thrust through holes in the box thus further disguising the seam that runs vertically where the mirrors meet.
Magi then opens the cabinet, revealing the vanished head (Figure C). The process is reversed if the Magi wishes to reconjure the missing head.

So, let’s do it! We put the box on our head, and the screen above our inventory goes completely black. Nothing happens, until we click on it and choose “open”
You reach around front and open the flaps.
You still can’t see anything, but in the dim light it appears to bystanders – even those very close – that there is no head on your shoulders, only an empty box.
Passerby begin to comment, a few of them actually gasp.
Oh, my, this one is the most pitiful of all.
If you give him money, he’ll just spend it on…
On what? Hats?
He’s a fake! He had a head a minute ago!
Yeah, but you’ve got to give him an A for execution.
You hear the footsteps receding. After a few moments, you close the box and remove it. Then you collect the coins and stand up again.
Success! Let’s check our earnings!

It’s not lying, we can buy absolutely anything we need with this money. So let’s do that! We need to go buy all three things we looked at in Wereworth’s. We start with the lips…

I’ll sell you those, but I have to see your ID.
You show the clerk your Driver’s License. Fortunately, the Reciprocity Laws work so that this Romanian reads English just as easily as you speak Romanian, so he accepts the license and gives you a pair of nice wax lips.
I… don’t know why we needed ID for these, but sure.

You grab a sack of Tanna Leaf Tea, "The Tea That Made Sri Lanka Recognized for Its Tea Exports."
I… there’s so many things wrong with this one, I don’t even know where to begin. To my knowledge, Tanna isn’t a real plant. Because of that, I feel like this could might be a pun I’m missing? But I really have no idea, so I’ll just leave it at that.

That’ll be all the fingers on your left hand.
Pardon me?
Oh, did I say all the fingers on your left hand? I meant 22 bani.
You carefully push 22 bani across the counter and pull your hand back quickly, before the cleark can have at it.

And now we buy a tattoo, but we have a lot of options!

Like the sign, only one of these will work for us. We don’t know which yet, but choosing the wrong one just ends in us needing to come buy the right one, so we’re taking the Pentacle.
You ask the clerk for one of the tattoos. You buy a pentacle tattoo.
You know how to get these off?
Soap and water?
You have to chew off the part of your body that’s got the tattoo. Here, put one on your foot, and I’ll show you how to do it.
You wisely decide not to put the tattoo on in front of the clerk. He’s certainly champing at the bit.

And that’s it for Wereworth’s! Next time, we hop in the trap and head to the Old Magic Woman’s place to find out about getting a curse mark, and see what Casamir’s has to offer us. See you then, everyone!

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Phew, this took a lot longer than it should have considering it was recorded at the same time as the last! Mainly because I was out and about more than usual this week, so expect the next one sooner than this!

When we last left off, we were about to have the trap driver take us to the Old Magic Woman.

Where are we off to, Sir?
To the Old Magic Woman’s Place…as fast as lightning!
If you say so, sir. She’s a bit of a skank, sir, but I wouldn’t kick 'er out of bed for eating maggots, if you know what I mean, arf arf. Right off with us, then.
What are you even talking about, guy? Like, all of these statements are perfectly understandable, and appropriately crass for this man, but why are they his response to “Take me to the woman who is literally magic”?

The driver heads to the outskirts of town. The further you ride, the less frequent the buildings become, giving way to untended farms with ramshackle farmhouses and barns that lean impossibly one way or the other.
Soon, the farms themselves become more sparse, then vanish altogether. The ground is covered by a low-lying fog, but the sounds and smells emanating from the mist paint a picture you’re just as happy not to see: thick gassy bubbles bursting on the surface of stagnent bogs, startlingly loud croaks of peculiarly large frogs, the occasional soft splashing of some poor animal being pulled under by a snake or crocodile or other aquatic predator, and the insects, whose droning is occasionally punctuated by soft thuds as they hurl themselves against the windows of your carriage.
Barely visible amidst the mist are trees in twisted and agonized shapes and patches of cattails that suddenly rustle as if something is moving through them. Once in awhile, you catch a glimpse of two red eyes staring at you from low to the ground.
You pass a sign that says, “Next swampgas, 2 miles” and, a few minutes later, "Magic Services, next right."
None too soon for your tastes, the Driver takes a gentle right turn, shuts off the horses… and is silent. Deciding that this is your cue, you uncertainly emerge from the trap, trying to peer through the swirling tendrils of vapor on the ground to make sure it’s solid. You test it with your foot. It’s hard-packed dirt. You stand up and immediately see the Old Magic Woman silhouetted in the window of her brightly-lit wagon.
Slowly, you walk over until you’re standing directly in front of her.
All of this narration covers up the scene we just arrived at…

And here she is. You probably see why I say she’s a stereotype of a completely different group than the one she’s referred to as. She’s a pretty classic example of a Jewish grandmother, which… I honestly can’t complain about too much? The game’s creator is Josh Mandel (probably most famous for his work on the Space Quest and King’s Quest series), and the things I’ve found on his personal website and twitter point to him being Jewish, so I’m pretty certain he has a Jewish grandmother, as do I, and… Well, I can easily see my grandmother saying most of the stereotypical stuff this woman says, so it’s not like it’s an inaccurate portrayal. It’s just a little off-putting that this is the character with this personality. I guess it all comes down to the fact that, again, at the time this game was made I doubt many people even knew who the Roma people were, let alone the stereotypes people generally had about them.

Wait, don’t tell me, I know it already.
Your name is Jay…no, Jake…Jake Sssss…
Smokenders! Jake Smokenders! Am I right, or what?
Very close. It’s Jake Stonebender.
Oh, please, it’s the same thing.
So? Who sent you?
Tor sent me.
Oh. Tor. So sad about him.
He was such a nice boy. But now…Rrrarrgh…
I know, I know.
Huh, so Tor wasn’t always like that. I wish we could do something about it, but we’re here for a reason.
I’d like to get into Casimir’s, but they want me to have a Curse Mark.
And? So? Show him your Curse mark.
I don’t have a Curse mark, I don’t think.
Why not?
We have a few options here, but they basically all work.
My dog ate it.
See? That’s why I tell people to rub bitter apple on them. The dogs won’t lick them then.
Well, my supermarket doesn’t carry bitter apples.
Well, I don’t know what kind of supermarket that is.
What’s your curse? I’ll get you a new one.
Oh, crap. What is our curse? Let’s just try everything.
I’m a vampire.
Very good, give me your palm.
The Woman takes your palm and swabs it with alcohol. From under the counter, she pulls a tiny envelope, which she tears open, exposing a narrow matel shim with a sharp point. She scratches your hand with it, then waits for several minutes.
She explains about the Garlic Scratch Test, which she can use to confirm your vampirishness.
She doesn’t see any reaction.
Whatever you have, it’s not vampirism.
Welp, we can’t fake that. Let’s try again.
I think I’m a zombie.
The Woman holds her hand out, and you lay your palm in her hand.
She feels your pulse, scratching her head.
Hold still.
Suddenly she pulls a hairpin from her scarf and jabs it deep into your hand.
You yank your hand back as she pulls the pin out of you.
What the hell was that?
Zombies don’t feel pain or have pulses. Besides, you’re a zombie, I give you a glass of salt water, you’re better. That’s not much of a curse.
Not a zombie either, then. Only two more choices.
I think I’m a ghoul.
The Woman reaches to the floor and comes up with a crumbled paper bag. Inside the bag is a wad of foil, which she peels open, revealing a Ziploc bag.
She pulls the bag open and reaches in. Her hand emerges with a brown, gooey, glistening chunk of rotted flesh. The stench hits you almost immediately; you start to gag violently and have to turn away from the window.
The Woman tucks the organ meat back into the bag, zipping it shut, rewrapping it, and dropping it under the counter.
From elsewhere, she pulls out a moist towlette, wipes off her hands, and smiles smugly.
So maybe you’re not a ghoul.
Maybe I’m a vegetarian ghoul?
That’s just a vegetarian. That’s not a curse. If you volunteer for it, it’s not a curse.
Well, unless we can remove our senses of both smell and taste, we’re not fooling her there either. That just leaves one option…
I think I’m a werewolf.
**The Magic Woman holds out her hand. You lay your palm in hers.
It’s shown this next shot every time, but this is the only time Jake immediately responds.

If you were a Werewolf, you would have the pentagram, the five-pointed star, upon your palm, which needs washing, by the way.
She drops your hand.
Besides, have you seen any wolfbane in bloom?
We haven’t but we did steal some fake wolfbane from the coffee shop! We also just happen to have a pentacle tattoo we can throw on, so it looks like we’re becoming a werewolf!

Trying to remain casual and cavalier, you read the instructions on the bag of the package, then pull open the plastic. Licking your palm in an ironically animalistic fashion, you then press the tattoo against your hand and hold it there for 30 seconds, applying even pressure.
Finally, you peel off the backing and blow gently on the beautiful, perfect tattoo.
I like it!
Okay, come on game. Anyone who has ever used a temporary tattoo knows they never come out perfect, even if you follow the instructions to the letter, which are way more intense than “Lick your skin and hold it there,” by the way. But, well, we have out pentagram now! Let’s see about getting that curse mark. We tell her again that we’re a werewolf, and when she takes our hand…

It’s the same shot as last time, except we can faintly see a red pentagram on Jake’s hand.
Is that a lovely pentagram!
They’re usually just a lot of little whiteheads in a sort of a five-pointed star shape, but this is beautiful!
Mr. Eisenstadt! Did you see his Pentagram?
Mr… who?
I saw it, it’s beautiful.
Oh! Looks like our driver gets to have a name! Thanks for that, game, I’m glad you care more about the driver than the Magic Woman who is our main source of help in this mission.
What else do I need?
I’m not so sure the wolfbane is in bloom…
You pull out the wolfbane blossom and hand it to the Woman.
Wonderful! You have any silver?
I’m not sure.
Try me.
Will these do?
You give the palming coins to the gypsy, and her eyes sparkle.
Wonderful, wonderful!
She makes an entry into her Ledger, and then takes a jar off the shelf. It’s filled with a blackish-brownish flesh-like putty. She molds it carefully for several minutes, using a toothpick for fine details.
Painting a spot on your temple with a thick green, pungent-smelling liquid, she presses the little curse mark onto your skin.
I can feel it taking root!
That shows it’s working.
She shines a small blue hi-intensity bulb at it for a few moments, then dabs away the excess green growth medium with her handkerchief moistened with saliva.
Stop that!
Now listen to me. Don’t get this wet for at least 4 hours. Don’t pick at it. Usually, that’ll make it come off, but sometimes they burrow down to get away from your finger.
And don’t shave it.
Now run along. Go to your bar or wherever it is you’re going.
Thank you, See you later.
You will, you will.
And now we’re cursed! Let’s get back to town, ASAP!

You drive back into town.
When you reach the town square, the drivers slows the horses. He pulls a large wooden lever at his feet, and the bottom of your seat suddenly swings down, dropping you through the floor of the trap and onto the street. Before you can sit up, he pulls the trap ahead a few feet, stands up, and waves at you.
You’re all right then! ‘Ave fun sir, and I’ll be awaitin’ you when you’re ready to go.
And we’re back downtown! Let’s not waste time, we need to get into Casimir’s!

You walk up to the entrance, but the bouncer puts a hand out to stop you.
You have curse mark?
You proudly show him your curse mark. He examines it closely, and is evidently satisfied, because he steps aside and holds the door open for you.

Woah. Curiously familiar is right…
You instantly feel as if you were in Callahan’s on Halloween, with everybody in costume and the only night when Mike turns the lights down low. Curiously, you can’t remember if Callahan’s is packed on holidays, or if it’s empty. Seems you remember it both ways.
Besides the subdued lighting, the next most obvious difference is the smell, which is heavy and coppery…the aroma of fresh blood. Callahan’s smells more like sawdust and beer.
But despite the smell and the intimidating crowd, the atmosphere is one of conviviality. You hear a lot of laughter and storytelling, you see a lot of belligerent-looking carnivores listening attentively to creatures who could easily constitute snack-time instead.
With the spirit of Callahan’s Place palpably present, you realize that this place’s namesake, Casimir, may come from the same place and time as Mike…might even be related. Hell, they could even be the same person, although you doubt Mike would send you here if he were making the trip himself.
And we’re here. It really is basically just like home, with much the same layout and the same atmosphere. In fact, there’s a fairly familiar looking person behind the bar.
The plump, green-fleshed guy behind the bar notices you looking at him.
'Evening, young man. Casimir Pajitnov, owner and operator.
He offers you his beefy right hand.
Jake Stonebender, pleased to meet you. You know, your bar reminds me of a bar in the United States.
Long Island?
That’s right.
Oh. Next time you see Mike, tell him Casimir sends his best, won’t you?
I will.
Great. If I can do anything for you, just scream.
This brings up kind of an interesting point. There’s more than one of these types of bars, but unless Casimir is exceptionally good at recognizing American regional accents, he has no real reason to immediately guess Long Island if there’s multiple bars across the US. So is Callahan’s the only one in the country? Or was this just a good guess/reasoning from Casimir? Either way, let’s see what else he’s got to say.

Are you and Mike…related?
Not in the way you probably mean it.
Is it too nosy to ask how you ARE related?.
Well…ask Mike, he’ll tell ya what he wants you to know.
Yeah, you two are related, all right.
I can understand Casimir’s response here. He has no idea how much Mike has told Jake about anything, and since Jake isn’t a regular here and will be back as Mike’s problem before long, it wouldn’t be right to say more than Mike has or wants to.

Now, the other person of note here is to Casimir’s left, with his back to us. Occasionally, he turns to look at us and then goes right back to drinking. He’s just labelled as “sullen man.”
You’re not sure at first, but yes, that’s Pyotr. He looks listless, pale, and far less energetic than usual.
In fact, you’d say he looks like death warmed over, but that would probably be a compliment.
Well, there he is. We found Pyotr, now to get him out of here, or at least find out why he came back.

You assume he’s talking about your pentagram.
The big, bright, Texaco star.
What’s he getting at?
Can I trust my car to you? Or don’t you do brakes?
It lands like a blow to the groin with a spiked tennis racket.
Having a drunk friend say something that socks you in the gut is no surprise; alcohol and despondence make a great glass cleaner for the window into the soul…especially for the basement windows.
Ouch… Pyotr is drunk to the point that he’s bringing up the accident where Jake lost his family. We really need to do something about this.
If you’re here to pay your last respects, I’m already dead.
Pyotr, dear Pyotr, come home with me now.
Goddamn you, Pyotr, I’ll see you in HELL!
Last one in’s a rotten egg.
You’re being very childish.
I know you are, but what am I?
The three of those were all options to choose. Once we say them all, in any order, a new one appears.
I come all the way from America to see you, and what do I get? Smartmouth comments!
Y’know, Jake? You’re such an old woman sometimes.
I’m gonna drink 'til sunup, and then you know what’s going to happen?
You’ll turn into a man-shaped pile of dust?
No. Guess again.
You’ll shrivel like a prune until you’re a corpse?
No. Again.
You’ll fade away until you vanish completely?
Again, we can answer in any order, we just need to do all three.
I give up.
I’m going to turn into a pile of dust in the shape of a man.
Didn’t I guess that?
So I appreciate your following me here, but my mind is made up. Now let me drink in peace.
And we’re booted out of the conversation. But we’re not done yet, we still don’t know why he came all the way back here in the first place!
Oh, my pal, the werewolf.
What’s the problem, Pyotr?
What’s the real problem?
You must be lonely, Jake.
What if you felt that lonely for your whole life?
I’ve lived my life as a lonely adult man for longer than you’ve been alive.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Well, maybe you can replace Barbara, but I can’t replace Sasha.
…Sasha? Alright Pyotr, time to spill the beans.
Who’s Sasha?
We used to sit in here and play “As Slime Goes By” on the jukebox.
When she smiled, I could feel it in here.
He taps his chest.
The last time I saw her…I don’t know how many years ago it was…she had made a decision. There was a teacher of hers, and he gave her something I…guess I didn’t have.
Anyway, I never heard from her again, so I guess she was happy with him. Is happy with him, for all I know.
Ouch. Well, the least we can do is try to have him talk to this Sasha, even if nothing comes of it. And that means getting him our of this bar. Let’s do some looking around.

A fugato sits drinking with his buddies. Fugato is an ancient term meaning, "Creature of accident in costume department."
Okay, maybe there’s some ancient lost meaning to fugato I’m unaware of, but to my knowledge it’s a musical term meaning… I have no idea. I’m awful with music, so I don’t really grasp the specifics, but I do know it’s a musical term related to the word “fugue.”
Hey, bud, how’s it hangin’?
Me Jake. You no kill I? Okay?
All of the fugato’s dialogue is presented this way. He growls or roars, it’s translated for us the player, and Jake has absolutely no idea.
Arrrarrgh rorraWWwargh!

Sure, man, no problem! Chill!
They have a lot of ways to express a growl. Now, the one on the right is downing most of the bottle (which, the game specifies for us, is Mako Root Schnapps, with a full Mako Root in the bottle), and the game also tells us the one in back is the one paying for it. Let’s talk to that one.

Talk to me!
Me friend. Jake you friend. You Jake friend. Okay?

*Sure, man, whatever.
Everything we can say to them goes about like this. We’ll be back to chat with him some more later on. For now, let’s keep looking around.

Ah, another werewolf! Let’s mingle!
An authentic and somewhat ratty-looking werewolf sits at the table and watches the solitaire game. Occasionally he pulls off his flea collar and attempts to sniff it deeply, but they just don’t give him the same kick that they used to.
You’re too nervouse to talk to the werewolf. You’re afraid that he’ll put your foot in his mouth.
Yikes. Well, that’s all there is to see, so let’s get to interacting! To the left of the fireplace, there’s a jukebox on a table in the back, a little hard to see.

A silent, unlit jukebox sits on a small table near the fireplace.
That thing doesn’t work. Guess I should get rid of it, it’s been broken for awhile now.
How long?
Thirty, forty years.
Huh. Well, Pyotr mentioned the jukebox, so maybe we should try getting it to work.
If you want to try and fix it, go ahead. Just don’t take it out of the bar. I can sell it to one of the doctors around here for spare parts.
And now we have the jukebox. But… we don’t really know how to fix this thing. Let’s see… Maybe Casimir has an idea?

Right here.
Sadly, none of the options will help with the jukebox, but one is of interest.
Do you guys have “theme nights”?
Sure we do. Tonight’s Curse Night.
So I discovered.
And whoever figures out the riddles on the blackboard gets cursed extra loudly by everybody else in the bar.
Oh, yeah, I know how that goes.
Riddles, eh? We have some experience with those! We’ll have to check them out.
We haven’t started the riddles yet, though. And then, on Mondays, there’s the Wet T-Shirt Contest Night.
Oh. Well, I guess we’ll come back when they’re set up.
Some of these guys must look pretty ghastly in wet t-shirts.
Well for dog’s sake, we don’t WEAR the t-shirts. Everybody brings in their favorite t-shirt, we dunk 'em in the sink, lay 'em out on the bar, and whichever one looks the best when it’s wet, wins.
Is there some other way to do it?
I’ve gotta say, I like this version a lot better than the one we have.

Alright, well, Casimir won’t be any help with the jukebox. Let’s keep looking. Back over where we can see the fugatos… there’s a dumbwaiter hidden over to the left, above the candle on the skull on the bar.
A dumbwaiter, just like Callahan’s dumbwaiter, is built into the wall…
Hmmm… We’re in a place run on horror movie logic… What if…?
You place the jukebox into the dumbwaiter and send it up.
Up and up it goes, to the churning storm clouds overhead…
Slowly the jukebox descends from the roof…
It’s alive! Alive!!
Good lord!
Spa fon!
Spa fon is a less odd reference to pull at the time this game was made than it is now. It’s an expression that came from EC Comics (the people who published Tales from the Crypt). Spa fon and Squa tront were alien expressions of surprise, just like, “My god!” or “Gott im Himmel!”

I realize seconds before I hit Reply that a lot of people might don’t know what “Gott im Himmel!” means, but I think it’s pretty clear from context. It’s German that was adopted by a lot of Yiddish speakers, so, you know, I’ve heard it a lot.

You haul it out of the dumbwaiter, and dust some of the char off of it. Sure enough, it seems to be working! It’s lit and you can hear whirrs and clicks inside!
Inwardly, you feel some guilt. After all, maybe man shouldn’t be playing Repairman with the primal forces of nature, fixing things he doesn’t understand and deigning to sat which appliances live and which ones die.
But what the hell, it’s just a jukebox.
We can’t use it until it’s back on its stand, so let’s go put it back.

Trying to lift with your knees, you hoist the jukebox up and tip it onto its stand.
Oh, that was easy. Let’s check out the song selection.

This is 1/4 of the songs. Let’s look at them all, shall we?
A-11: Plague Round In My Mind
A-12: (The Theme From) Dahm and Dahmer
A-13: Sqwuursh Went the Strings of My Heart
A-14: Everybody Flays the Fool
A-15: I’d Like to Teach the World to Sting
A-16: Just An Old Facist Love Song
A-17: Dismemberies
A-18: Those Ghoulish Things
A-19: Try a Little Tenderizer
A-20: One Croak Over the Line
B-1: Bewitched, Bothered, and Beheaded
B-2: Help Cremate It Through the Night
B-3: You Don’t Have to Be All Scarred Baby (To Be In My Show)
B-4: I’m Not In Lovecraft
B-5: Everybody’s Stalkin’
B-6: Gonna Fry Now
B-7: I Wanna Go Home (Sloop-Jawed Beast)
B-8: Drooling Banjoes
B-9: Hooked on Congealing
B-10: Ooze Sorry Now
B-11: Life Is Just Ebola Cherries
B-12: Embalmable You
B-13: Spokes Get In Your Eyes
B-14: In Her Goiter Davida
B-15: Saturday Morning Contusion
B-16: Gloom Moon
B-17: As Slime Goes By
B-18: Seizures in the Sun
B-19: Fooled Around and Fell in Lava
B-20: I’m in the Mood Pon Farr (Simply Because You’re Nimoy)

That’s a lot of choices… Good thing we got some advice on what to choose. Song B-17: As Slime Goes By, the song Pyotr and Sasha used to listen to in here.
With a brief hum and a series of clicks, the jukebox begins to play B-17: As Slime Goes By
The moment “As Slime Goes By” starts to play, Pyotr stumbles off of his chair.
For some reason, those two lines are separated but in the same text box. It seems like they just forgot to push the second sentence off to the next box.

Didn’t I say not to play that?
Yeah. Let’s get out of here.
You put your arm around him, but he shrugs it off.
I can walk myself.
You steer Pyotr out of the bar.
You steer Pyotr out of the crowded bar and into the street.
I don’t know why these lines are both here, either.
I feel sick.
Do you have to throw up?
I don’t know. My head hurts.
Let’s get you home.
Pyotr pulls his arm away from you, bringing you to the realization that you’ve been gripping him tightly for the past minute.
I don’t want to go home. I’m not ready to go home.
Okay. Want to see if we can sober you up?
He pauses for a moment and closes his eyes. A pained scowl crosses his face. You beat the pained scowl off, and it flies off into the night, hooting angrily. Pyotr wearily nods his head in answer to your question.

And we successfully got Pyotr out of the bar! He won’t go home yet, so next time we drag him to Starbucharest’s to sober him up, so that hopefully he tells us more info.

As I said at the start, expect the next update much sooner than this one! I’ve got a way less busy week ahead, and we’re about halfway through Adventures of a Lovesick Vampire, so we’ll see how much we can get through this week!

Pyotr was kinda acting like a jerk at first, but dang that last scene was really good. Hopefully the sobering experience is a… well, sobering experience.

Well, I went straight from “busy week” to “I have acute bronchitis” but I think it’s time to finally get back to business! We left off dragging our pal Pyotr out of Casimir’s and looking to sober him up. Well, what better to sober someone up than a nice strong cup of coffee?

You steer your swaying friend into Starbucharest’s.

Before we actually interact with anything, something’s changed on our HUD! If you look at some previous imaged, when we go to interact with something it shows Jake’s portrait in the bottom left. Now that Pyotr is following us…

His portrait shows up too! Just to remind us that he’s going to interact to some things with us, of course. First thing’s first, let’s get something for his head.

My friend’s had a little too much to drink. What do you recommend?
The clerk looks at you, then at Pyotr, and begins to assemble a drink. She dumps orange juice into a metal drinkmaker cup, and follows it with worcesteshire sauce and a raw egg. Watching this is hard enough, but you have to look away when she drops in a scoop of dozens of small things that cling desperately to the scoop and make high-pitched whining noises.
A couple of small shrieks later, she starts up the old drinkmaster and blends the cocktail. She hands it to you, and you hand a few bani over to her.
You, in turn, hand the foul-smelling beverage to Pyotr, who looks at it in horror.
I can’t…
He pushes it away, obviously not yet prepared to pour anything on top of what’s already in his gut.
I can’t drink that. The room is spinning.
I think that’s just the interface.
You take the noxious curative back to the lady at the counter.
I’ll put it in the fridge. If he changes his mind, let me know.

Alright, well, Pyotr’s just gonna sit around and refuse to sober up. However, there’s someone else here we can chat with. She never actually introduced herself, but after we talked to her earlier, this woman’s name shows up when we point at her…

Sasha! It could be a coincidence but… she did seem to know Pyotr. Let’s see what she has to say now that he’s right here!

Pyotr groggily takes a look at the woman sitting at the table. He squints at her, looks away, squints at her again.
He takes a third look before his eyes get huge.**
(Actually, his eyes stay the same size, but because he’s looking particularly emaciated, they really appear to take up more of his face than usual.)
How are you?
Same as ever.
I think I’ll just step outside for awhile.
Stay here, Jake, we just sat down. This is the woman I never told you about.
You must have…
I would have married this woman. Ziv and I both wanted to.
When she met me to tell me she’d picked Ziv, she had lines on her face.
I don’t…
Lines from the bedclothes. From lying on the sheets.
With him.
I don’t believe this.
I’m with Sasha here. I mean, Pyotr even said, she picked Ziv. Who cares what she did with him?
She put her arms around me and called me sweetheart. But she smelled like him.
Do vampires have a smell? Well… I guess that’s a bit ruder, but still, Pyotr is just coming off bitter and drunk.
I’m just going…
You’re drunk. You’re being disgusting. And you’re embarrassing everybody.
I think you should leave. And if you won’t leave, the least I think you could do is to leave me alone.
C’mon, Pyotr, let’s get out of here. I’m sorry. This was my mistake.
Don’t blame yourself Jake. You had no way of knowing, and Pyotr’s behavior is pretty inexcusable.
What the hell happened to you? You know?
Come on.
Encountering only slight resistance, you manage to lead Pyotr out the door. Handling him is like handling a huge floppy marionette. It’s his alcohol-oiled joints.
You sit him down on the convenient barrel and manage to prop him up, after some balancing. You head back into Starbuchara\est’s, offer a quick apology to Sasha, and leave with a cup of Cafe Ole.
Cafe Ole is made from one of the beans we could have looked at earlier. Specifically, Toreador Beans.
This you proceed to pour down Pyotr’s throat, much to his dismay. But the caffeine and capsacin do their trick, and with fifteen minutes, Pyotr is looking and sounding noticeably better.
Is she still there?
I think so. But I wouldn’t try to talk with her again just now.
Jake, I swear, she’s nothing like the woman I left here. I mean, completely different. She looked different, too.
According to what Sasha let slip last update, it’s been centuries since Pyotr was here. I guess vampires don’t age, but… Is it really so weird to change a lot in that much time?
Very severe.
I’ll tell you something. She didn’t used to have that Cindy Crawford thing going on with that mole on her face. We don’t get cancer, otherwise I’d be worried.
What do you get?
Too much iron sometimes. A little Vitamin A overdose.
Could it be a curse mark?
I know where her curse mark used to be.
That wasn’t it?
Hmmm… If vampires don’t get any sort of skin diseases, that thing on her forehead is kind of suspect. I don’t totally trust Pyotr’s judgement, but now that he’s sober he’s at least giving a reason.

We’re outside now, since Jake dragged Pyotr out so he would stop embarrassing himself and troubling Sasha. Our next task is to find out more about this possible Curse Mark, and there’s only one place to go for that! And, conveniently…

She’s moved her wagon into town! That’s good, because we’re going to need her a few times coming up. We can actually look at her wagon now, since we weren’t automatically put right up to it.

The Old Magic Woman’s wagon looked convincing, but from up close it’s pretty clear she’s just covered a small Winnebago with contact paper.
Hey Jake, no judging! You’re the one with a coat hanger antenna on their truck!

Well on nights like these, I can make more in town…and then I pass the savings on to you. It’s just one more way I make it easy to shop the Old Gypsy Woman way.
I guess that makes sense. Her wagon is mobile, so if it’s a busy night in town she might as well be here. Now, we have a pretty big question for her.

Hello, Mister Werewolf.
What if I knew somebody that knew somebody that might be under a curse of some sort, how would I tell this person’s person how to tell what kind of curse it was?
I’m very sorry, you’re going to have to do better than that.
Really Jake, just ask normally.
If I think somebody might be under a curse, how could I tell?
Much better.
Oh, I don’t know if that’s something you could tell, honey. I could probably tell, if I could see exactly what the mark looked like. But I guess you’d have to get your friend’s person’s person here.
Hmm… Well, I highly doubt Sasha will just come out here with us. Especially since we’re not even sure that thing on her forehead is a Curse Mark. We don’t have a camera or any way to draw a picture of it (we can only write words on the spirit slate), so we’ll need another way. Let’s go back inside for now, maybe have a quick word with her anyways?

No offense to you, Mr. Stonebender, you’ve been nothing but gracious. But please leave me in peace.
Sasha then turns to Pyotr.
I don’t want to talk to you right now.
Maybe sometime when you’re fit to talk to.
I’m sober now.
She turns away from Pyotr.

Yeah, he might have sobered up a bit, but I don’t think he’s ready for this. However, interacting with Sasha reminds us of the other options there. Last time I mentioned we can kiss her, which seemed completely wild at the time, but now… there just might be something to that. The final option, which I didn’t mention, was to offer blood to her. We also have that option for Pyotr, actually. If we do it to any vampire, we find out that it’s a somewhat traditional thing here, as a way for vampires and humans to go “you don’t drain me of all my vital fluids, I won’t sneak into your house at night and drive a stake through your heart.” We’re already on decent terms with both of them, so no real reason to do it.

The kiss, on the other hand, is something to consider. It’ll get us right up next to that thing on her forehead, but there’s no way to record it for the Magic Woman. Except we do have a way to record something with a kiss: our wax lips! They’re solid right now, but we also had a hint before as to how to make them more malleable: the Molten Lava Mocha Java, coffee served at 500 degrees. Let’s buy a cup, shall we?

The clerk puts on some asbestos gloves and hands you the 500-degree cup of coffee.
Careful with that. It might be a tad warm.

Lovely. We could try to drink it, but Jake cares too much about having a digestive track that hasn’t melted, so he won’t do it. Instead, we’ll just dip the lips in to make them useful.
You dip the wax lips into the hot coffee. Immediately, you can feel the wax soften.
Excellent. Let’s pop them in.
You put the wax lips in your mouth and clamp down on them.
Don’t let people see you doing this. They’ll start calling you Hot Lips.
Before we can do anything else, another message pops up.
The java has cooled off slightly. If you spilled it on yourself, death would come a lot slower.
So, every two or three interactions, we’ll get another message telling us how cool the coffee is. This won’t affect us, but it serves an important purpose. If we bought the coffee before we were ready for this step and just carried it with us for a while, it would cool too much to be able to melt the wax. Like I said, it won’t affect us, so I won’t mention it every time we get one of these messages.

Something else changed however, though this is just a HUD thing. If we look down at the bottom where our portrait always is…

It shows Jake’s temporarily massive lips. Anyways, we now have the unfortunate task of invading Sasha’s personal space, so let’s get it over with.

You stand and press your big, full, hot lips to Sasha’s temple. She is still and unyielding, and her skin is as cold after you kiss it as it was before.
She gives you a look of cool disapproval.
Although she remains silent, her message is clear: your actions were inappropriate, no matter how charming the sentiment might have been.
You remove the lips from your mouth to speak.
I apologize. It’s a custom in my country.
She purses her lips and gives you a look of exasperation at the strange country you must be from.
Sasha gathers her newspaper and rubs the spot on her forehead, around her curse mark, where you pressed the hot lips to her skin. She icily suggests that you both sober up, and that said, turns on her heel and walks out.

That last line doesn’t… quite seem to flow straight from the previous. I realized I’ve never tried it, because I’d rather not make Jake assault Sasha for absolutely no reason, but I think you can actually do this as soon as you have the bani and wax lips, and if you do it will cut this at the penultimate line. Basically, you bother her with the kiss, and Pyotr bothers her by being drunk and obnoxious. Whichever order that happens in, she leaves once both are done.

Well, we’ve unfortunately forced her to leave, but we have some proof here as to whether or not it’s a Curse Mark!

That’s… not a natural mark. Looks like Pyotr was right, something is definitely up. Let’s go ask our magic friend what’s going on.

You hand the lips to the Woman and she eyes them.
This is an impression of a curse mark?
It’s not very good.
What do you mean? It’s great. It’s precision.
I don’t like it.
She pulls out a jeweler’s loupe and peers at it intently. Then she swings around and grabs a ledger off the shelf behind her. Setting it on the sill, she opens it up and runs her finger down a list.
A loupe, if you don’t know, is a magnifying glass without a handle, normally used by jewelers and watchmakers. If you’ve ever seen a movie or show with one of those, it’s the little single lens that they put up to one eye while looking at an item. In fact, better than that description, I can just provide an image.

Let’s see. Clothespins, Clouds, Cloven Hooves, here we go: Clovers. 11, 121, 232.
She flips a few more pages.
232. Alan Pelligrini. Is this from Alan Pelligrini?
What, the Curse Mark? No.
All right, don’t get huffy. Let’s see, 121. Mrs. Murchison. Oh. I gave Mrs. Murchison a clover, imagine that. Is this from Mrs. Murchison?
You look at Pyotr, who shakes his head no.
Well, I only have an 11, let me look. This is old. Is this Sasha…I can’t read the name…
That’s the one.
She examines the entry next to the name.
Oh, oh, this is a wonderful curse. Oh, this is a goodie. You’ll never get this one off. This is a curse that drains the cursee of the ability to experience emotion. No love, no hurt, no happy, no sad, no joy, no pain, no nothing.
How do we counteract it?
This is what makes it such genius. To cure the curse, you make an anticursulant. You need tanna leaves, you need…ummm…
Oh, this is going to bother me until I can think of it.
It’s important.
Just a minute… tanna leaves…and…is it…no…
Mako root! Mako root! Yeah, that’s it!
And those are hard to get?
Oh, I don’t know. No, the hard part is, the third thing you need is, the tears of the cursee. And that’s the thing. How do you get tears from somebody who can’t cry?
You can’t.
I’m so proud of it. It’s one of mine, this curse. Original with me.
Do we, like, chop an onion?
I suppose. I don’t know. Maybe even then they can’t cry. I never actually made the anticursulant before. That I remember.
So. Get me some tanna leaves, some mako root, some tears, and we’re in business.
You don’t have any of those things?
Listen to you. If you had to deal with the people I have to deal with to get tanna leaves and mako root, you wouldn’t be such a shmegegge.
More Yiddish! Well, actually, the Yiddish word shmegegge basically just means “nonsense” and doesn’t make sense here. However, the term Ameridish was coined for words made or changed by Jews in the US, and in that sense the word shmegegge means just a person with no talent or who is totally unadmirable. I wish this game would throw more Yiddish at me, I love chances to show off my knowledge like this.

The Woman adds offhandedly that the curse was actually ordered by Sasha’s new husband and applied by him while she slept. You can practically hear Pyotr’s blood (what there is of it) begin to boil.
Well, looks like Pyotr’s suspicions weren’t so unfounded. I think we need to go meet this Ziv and see what’s up… But where could he be?

Now that the Old Magic Woman has her ledger sitting out, you can not only see the scrawled details of the spell on Sasha, but her address as well: 1313 Resting Place.
Ah, good. If we need Sasha’s tears, we need Sasha, so let’s go check out her place. Our driver is thankfully still waiting here in town.

Master. Squire. What kin I do fer you, then?
Lead on, Macduff.
1313 Resting Place.
Resting Lane. I’ll 'ave you there in two snaps of a tendon.
True to his word, he negotiates the narrow, twisted cobblestone streets and, ten minutes later, pulls up in front of a very large, immaculate house on a tall hill.
You and Pyotr get out and knock on the door.

Sasha, before you slam the door in my face, can you wait a moment?
You’re looking a little better.
Thank you.
Please do come in. Ziv is not home from University yet, but I’m expecting him shortly.
Mr. Stonebender, how lovely to see you again. Please, do come in.
She leads the way in and softly closes the door behind you.
Lovely, we got invited in! We follow her inside and…

Is that a problem?
She remarks quietly that she has an allergy.
You rub your hand hard on the thigh of your jeans, scraping off almost the entire pentagram, and display it to her.
It’s one of those temporary things. I’m not really lupine.
She cocks her head and gives you an odd look, but she quickly suppresses it and leads you further inside.
The house is spectacular, if you like the feeling of living in a museum. The decor is impeccable, the furnishings are genuine classics. But as a home, it’s cold and unpleasant, with a heavy, musty smell and a general atmosphere of lifelessness.
Please, follow me.
You and Pyotr accompany Sasha to a cavernous living room, and she gestures to a small divan with plastic slipcovers. You take up position, but you both wait to sit until Sasha herself sits.
Feeling better?
Nobody is quite sure what to say next.
Um…Ziv is due back from University any moment now, I’m sure he’ll be glad to see you.
That’s a lie.
Please, Pyotr, let’s not.
Not what?
I don’t think you came here to bicker with me. Perhaps I’m wrong.
Pyotr thinks about this for a moment.
No, you’re right. We’re here to try to prove something.
Pyotr looks over to you. You swallow uncomfortably.
And now we’re free to explore the house. Well, not quite. If we actually try to search anything…

Please, Mr. Stonebender, I have some personal items in those drawers that I’d rather keep private.
By the time she’s finished speaking, you’ve returned to the divan and your ears are bright red.
Well, looks like we can’t do too much while Sasha is watching us. We can talk to her, but it’s just awkward small talk to fill the silence between her and Pyotr. Let’s see what else there is to see around here.

The dining room isn’t too interesting, but this is about 1/4 of what we can see while spinning around the room. Next…

An old commode is visible through the bathroom door.
Do… vampires need bathrooms? They certainly don’t need mirrors, but… Oh well, let’s not think too much on it. Instead, we probably need to stop in here after all this time running around.
No, thanks, I took care of that while you weren’t looking.
Oh, smart man. That could have been pretty awkward.

The mirror is ludicrously dusty. That’s understandable, since it probably doesn’t get much use.
Actually, thinking about why they have a toilet but don’t clean the mirror… I imagine they have it for guests, but then guests would also need to use the mirror, probably. So why is one in working order and one totally unusable? I’m clearly way overthinking this.

Other than a hairbrush and a few bobby pins, there’s nothing on the vanity.
A hairbrush? Well, as an adventure game protagonist…
You excuse yourself and go into the lavatory, shutting the door behind you. Under cover of a flush of the commode, and the running of water in the sink, you slip the hairbrush into your pocket…vowing to return it later.
Hopefully, you weren’t vowing too loudly.

And, well, that’s 1313 Resting Place. We need to get to work on this anticursalant, so let’s get back to town.
As you head out the door, Pyotr calls after you.
I’m staying here, Jake.
And it is fine. If they’re alone together, maybe they can work something out. It’s certainly not going to happen with you there.
You walk down the hall and out into the front courtyard, where the driver awaits.
And we head back to town. We have three ingredients to get for the anticursalant. One we already bought from Wereworth’s: the tanna tea leaves. One we need to figure out how to get: Sasha’s tears. And the third, we’ve seen: the Mako root.

That’s right, these three fugato are drinking Mako Root schnapps, with a root right in the bottle. Let’s see what we can do to get it from them.

Spill it, bro!
You give Jake bottle, yes?

*Hey, the schnapps are on us if you can help us win the contest!
The riddle night contest! Well, we’ve already shown that we’re pretty good at these! Let’s get cracking!
Me have riddle answer for Fugato, me think!

And here they are! Like last time, I’ll give a couple days to see if you all can work these out yourselves, and then we’ll move on! Next time, we finish the anticursalant, and after that we wrap up Adventures of a Lovesick Vampire! The puzzles are transcribed below, again with the connection hidden in a spoiler blur. These ones are quite a bit tougher in my opinion, both because deciphering the clues is a bit harder and because the soundalikes are a bit more of a stretch.

[details=Puzzles]1. Chime; moisturizing plant; snug
2. Yard; linked steel; leg joint; younger
3. Permeable; famous Marx; spoiled
4. Grain; bid; wind shelter
5. Scorch; Chicago trains; legal code; massive weight
6. Otherwise; one; lean; aromatic organic compound
7. Moss; shiv; fluffiness; drawing fluid
8. Urinated; member of British nobility; white with age
9. Five-dollar bill (colloq.); Penny; Cost
10. Touched in the head; manta

These are all monster movie actors and actresses!

Petition to never let Pyotr drink again. Dude doesn’t handle his alcohol well at all.
If there’s one thing I know less than older music, it’s actors. Like, from any time period. It’s too bad, because I really like the style of puzzle, but the actual material isn’t something I’m familiar with.