episodes

104 – The Trudge

in which everyone feels a bit under the weather, the Division of Visions has an important update, work grinds to a halt, a few test subjects have a serious existential crisis, and Frank the Tank “wins” the Ruin-A-Life Drawing. Do Evil Better.

Transcription:

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Intro: What you are about to hear is very, very bad and not good at all.

Hello, Happy New Year, and welcome to the Kakos Industries corporate shareholder announcements. At Kakos Industries, ordinarily, we help our clients and the rest of the people and other beings to Do Evil Better. I say ordinarily, because we’ve had a bit of a slow down recently, but I’ll get to that later. The holidays are over, shareholders, and that means that the Festival of Anti-Celebration is over. We may still have New Year’s celebrations, but those are not quite the same. The New Year is often not celebrated with family, but instead friends and strangers. It is a holiday of inebriation and debauchery, and we here at Kakos Industries can fully get behind that. We rounded up all of the members of Anticel, that strange anti-celebration organization that was fighting celebration physically and imprisoned them for the remainder of the holiday season. Oddly enough, it worked, and as soon as the holidays were over, we let them out and they went back to doing whatever it is that they usually do. Without the holidays, there is no anti-celebration. Randall Fmitt still unfortunately works here. It seems that it is very difficult to get people to work in the Division of Anhedonia, no matter how obviously they qualify. Perhaps it is due for some rebranding. 

As many of you in the Northern Hemisphere will recognize, it is winter time and colder than usual. Always getting hotter, though, am I right? Anyway, to commemorate the cold times and the general indoor inclination of the season, today’s radio is a combination cooler and receiver. You know, for going to the beach or doing picnics. This cooler is coming to us from the Division of Alright, Bro and Dudequipment, a company that unsurprisingly specializes in equipping dudes. They do get a lot of questions about whether or not they supply dude equipment in the more suggestive sense. They do not. Yet. Anyway, there’s a new model of this cooler coming out in the summer, so we understandably had some extras of these on hand, and rather then drop the price, we’re just writing them off as a loss and charging more for the next one. The cooler has a single speaker, making it mono, and I’m told the audio quality is “you should be drunk”. Well. it’s not the best ever, but at least it will keep your 40 pack of ice cold. In fact, you should open up the cooler now. Do you see some canned beverages inside? You should crack the yellow one. I’ll give you a second. Ahh. Isn’t that crisp and refreshing. The flavor certainly isn’t overpowering. Now, I should mention that, if you’re not a shareholder, this can of cheap beer will have badly poisoned you. Your choices are now simple. Wait until your heart rate slows to a stop, or drink the black can. The black can is pure Evil. The contents will remain a mystery for now, but I can assure you that consuming them will bring you to the side of Evil, and it will also cure the poison. If you’re a shareholder and a little on the thirsty side, go ahead and drink the black can. It won’t hurt you. The red can is pretty much a no go for anyone.

I mentioned a little earlier that things have been kind of slow here at Kakos Industries. It seems that there has been some sort of infection going around that has been putting just about everyone out of commission. I’m doing these announcements a bit under the weather myself. Soundman Steven is… napping. Hopefully nothing goes wrong with the sound. No, he’s awake. Just resting your eyes. I understand. Junior is a bit ill also. His sneezing and coughing can be heard reverberating through the building . We’re unsure as of right now where the infection began, or the true nature of the infection, but we’ve been pumping some of our employees full of experimental drugs, hoping that something will work. So far, we have been unsuccessful. We’re sitting at a 60% infection rate. The infection seems to be airborne. 

(A phone rings)

Corin: Hello?

Violet: Mr. Deeth, I would like to submit a complaint.

Corin: Violet Trudge?

Violet: Yes. The hardest working thing at Kakos Industries. By far, right now, it seems.

Corin: I’m doing the announcements right now, can this wait?

Violet: I would like to file a complaint about every single employee at Kakos Industries. (cough)

Corin: Okay. What have they done exactly?

Violet: (cough) They are slacking. They are not at work, and the ones at work are dragging so badly they aren’t getting anything meaningful done. 

Corin: Everyone’s sick. We know. 

Violet: That sounds like an excuse. They should be working, like me. Do you know how many people I’m compensating for right now?

Corin: Violet…

Violet: First names. Gross. (cough)

Corin: We can’t make people work harder than they are. We would have to pump them full of stimulants and we would pay the price later when they start to fall over in the hallways.

Violet: I’m currently compensating for 350 employees. My workload has doubled. 

Corin: It’s okay, Violet. We can stand to lose a little productivity here and there.

Violet: Never. (cough). I’ve been covering for experiments in the Division of Excision. I’ve been covering for experiments in the Division of Revision. I’ve been covering for everyone in the Division of Hats.

Corin: Violet… wait. The Division of Excision, the Division of Revision, and the Division of Hats?

Violet: Corin. Yes.

Corin: Violet, those are some of the first infection sites. Were you working in those Divisions before anyone fell ill?

Violet: I work in a lot of divisions. I can’t be responsible for keeping track of everyone’s feelings. But yes, I would say I was working in those divisions before the illness took hold.

Corin: Violet, you’re the common factor. You might be patient zero. Would you mind going down to the medical wing for some tests.

Violet: Sure, “Corin”. (cough) Right after I finish all the work I need to get done. 

Corin: No, Violet you need to stop now. 

Violet: That’s ridiculous. I never stop.

Corin: You care about efficiency and productivity. What if you’re getting everyone sick? What if you’re causing this slow down?

Violet: That’s absurd. I’m totally fine. (hard cough)

Corin: I’m not your direct supervisor… and I’m actually not sure who is, but I’m ordering you, as CEO, to go to the doctor. We need answers.

Violet: You don’t know what you’re saying. So many things will go undone. I can’t fall behind.

Corin: That’s on me. You have to go to the doctor. Right now.

Violet: I’ve made my complaint. You’ve derailed me long enough. I need to get back to work now. 

Corin: I’m going to send a team. They will take you in by force.

Violet: I know Kung Fu, Muay Thai, Jujitsu, Krav Maga, and Slappy Punch Punch. Bring it.

Corin: They’re probably just going to shoot you with a dart or something.

Violet: I have built up an immunity to iocaine powder, and nearly all sedatives. Immunity is a hobby of mine.

Corin: Maybe like electric shock then? They’re real resourceful. 

Violet: I can handle anything that comes at me!

(click)

Okay, I’m going to need a team to go take Violet down. Don’t kill her. We still need to figure out what makes her work so hard. 

I managed to hunt down that food truck that was serving Blumn to try to figure out what the hell it is. You know, I get curious sometimes. Anyway, I got an answer. It says, “It’s the best shit.” Neat. I’ve been unable to get my hands on a sample. 

The illness that has been going around… we could call it the Trudge? I suppose I should wait and find out if it’s really her that’s causing it before we name it after her, even if it is the hardest working illness we’ve ever encountered. Anyway, the illness took some of the steam out of the Yule celebration. Everyone was a Krampus, even those that forgot and didn’t wear a costume. We had extras. But we were moving slowly, and we were sniffly, and we were coughing. It wasn’t as much fun as it could have been. Anyway, I still did the ritual where I spank the naughtiest of you with a big bundle of sticks, but I could tell some of the die hard fans of this celebration were a little disappointed with the force of my blows. This illness takes a lot out of you. 

The Zestival happened shortly before we all got super sick. It was nice. We had a cookoff using a selection of intense spices. We had tiers for amateurs, professionals, and master chefs. For a while, we thought the illness might have come from sharing utensils at this event, but it seems that most people were careful with their tools, and proper food handling was observed. The winning dishes were the Chili Basil Mango Papaya Steak, the Cumin Onion Garlic Anise Chicken Curry, and the handful of Turmeric thrown in your eyes. Very avant garde. 

The New Year’s party last night was outstanding, though a bit overshadowed by how terrible almost everyone felt. We drank, we sang, we danced, and we coughed hard. I was impressed with how much all of you wanted to be there, and how much all of you wanted to party, even though many of you, if not most of you, were barely keeping it together. I will say that there is little that is sexy about a running nose, a rough cough, and a fever, but we did our best to make it look Evil. New Year’s resolutions are always a double-edged sword, but I think we’re going to make this year the most Evil one yet. We shall see.

Coming up, we’ve got the Festival of Darkness. As always, we will completely darken the basement ballroom, including any bioluminescent qualities or electrical lights you may have in your body. Usually, we allow you to lay back and just feel the utter and total darkness around you. This time, we’re thinking of adding some movement. There will be nothing in the darkness to be afraid of, as always.

We also have the Festival of Genes coming up. After last year, and what happened with Dana Govern, we might step back our usual end-of-celebration cocktail for one or more lucky shareholders and/or employees. I’m also told that we’re unveiling a gene construct for “The Perfect Social Media Ass.” While sex is certainly Evil, and inspiring frustrating sexual feelings in people thousands of miles away through a digital device is also Evil, we couldn’t help but feel like maybe this was doing too much to benefit the recipient of the genes. Even if being so shallow as to need the perfect rear end for Internet selfies is itself Evil, it wasn’t enough for us. We understand that this gene construct will also potentially take ten years off of your life. We expect it to be exceedingly popular all the same. 

I feel compelled to give all of you updates on the Dana Govern babies, even though they’re babies, and therefore intrinsically uninteresting. Perhaps it is the fact that they appear to be multi-colored demonic creatures that makes them so noteworthy, even if that is only on the outside. We’ve still got around, what, two years before they start talking? And then it’ll be at least another 14 before they have any interesting thoughts at all. And then maybe another 10-15 years before they have anything to offer society at all, if ever? But they are just so disturbingly cute, and watching Junior care for them gives everyone in the building all the warm feelings we could ever hope to repress. I’ve started to use Junior’s names for them in place of Grace’s number scheme. They are going to need names eventually after all. Yezil, Nera, Haroom, Quesh, and Killiet. I get the names right about 50% of the time right now, but I’m working on it. I still don’t know which one of the names comes from an anime, but I will find out eventually, and that one will likely become my least favorite. That’s okay, though. They’re not my children. I can have a least favorite. 

The Tabithas have been quiet. The holidays are a busy time for all of us, and this infection has probably hit them just as hard as everyone else. I’ve been finding it hard to wander the halls in my free time, also, so even if they did lie in wait for me, I wouldn’t run into them. We really need to get to the bottom of this sickness. I did find another tape from my grandfather, though. It was an old voice recorder in one of his suit pockets down in the archive. The batteries had leaked and corroded a lot of the device, but the tape survived.

(tape click)

Corin I: She sent me pictures. They’re like centerfolds, and just as explicit. Laying on a couch, looking more comfortable naked than in anything she ever wore. Looking over her shoulder like the photographer surprised her. This one… well this one might as well be in an anatomy textbook. She does look younger. A lot younger. Her skin, her hair, even the look in her eyes and the shape of her smile. She did it. Somehow. One might see these pictures and think of them as an invitation. An expression of romance or desire. But I know better. They’re an insult. She’s showing me what I can’t have, what I chose not to have. She’s laughing at me. She’s telling me I was wrong. But smooth skin was never what I was after. Even if she masterfully combines character and uniqueness with the perfect and broadly applicable, it was never just physical for me. Another man might look at these pictures and be filled with base desires. I see them and I’m just filled with melancholy. Tabs, could you destroy these for me?

(Tape click)

Corin III: I have some thoughts. For starters–

(ringing)

Corin: Hello?

Violet: I have dealt with your assassins. 

Corin: They weren’t assassins. They were supposed to take you alive.

Violet: I have defeated them all in combat. I am victorious. I will be returning to work presently. 

Corin: You need to go to the doctor!

Violet: (coughing) No. I don’t take sick days. I don’t take vacations. I don’t take mental health days. I don’t even take holidays. I work. I always work.

Corin: Go to the doctor.

Violet: I don’t need a doctor. There’s nothing wrong with me a little work can’t fix.

Corin: How did you defeat the security team? Their fighting style is a secret.

Violet: Fung Ku. It’s a variant of Kung Fu I read a book about once while I was observing seven experiments.

Corin: And the sleep darts? 

Violet: I told you I’m immune to most sedatives.

Corin: And the gas?

Violet: Also a sedative. There’s too much caffeine in my system to let them affect me.

Corin: And the goop?

Violet: What goop?

(a hissing sound)

Violet: (coughing) No! It’s so sticky! I… I can’t move!

Corin: Cool. We’ll let the medical team know where you are.

Violet: You don’t understand! I have to keep working! The whole company depends on it!

Corin: Right. Medical team on their way.

Violet: (coughing) No!

(click)

Corin: I’m glad we got that sorted out. I was really worried. If she is patient zero for this infection, we might be able to learn more from her than the others. I think I saw that in a movie once. I don’t know if it’s true.

Gray was spotted during an Anticel rally, but they disappeared before everyone was arrested. It is unclear if Gray was involved in the anti-celebration or merely passing through the crowd.

Hell is also dealing with an outbreak of this illness, but Meredith has kept everyone working. Their work is essentially pointless, so it doesn’t really matter if they don’t work as efficiently as usual.

I have news from the Division of Visions. They write, “We see everything.” That’s not very informative, but I kind of miss these cryptic updates. I don’t know why they stopped sending them to me. The Division of Sharp Objects recently had another accident, but the positive news is that there are now several openings in the Division of Sharp Objects. Literally and figuratively. I am told that they are on the cutting edge of cutting edges. You will need a level three sharps clearance to apply. The Division of Pharmaceuticals has developed a new pill that apparently makes people feel “jazzy”. I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds uncomfortable.

The Division of Figuring Out What All of These Keys Go To has put an enormous key into the suspiciously shaped cave mouth on the craggy lawn. There was some moaning from deep under Lake Zyzerzil before a small island appeared in the center of it with a treasure chest. Unfortunately, they have not yet found the key to that chest. 

Jasmine Aashna and Dr. Dunkelwissen have continued their experiments. And by experiments, I really mean that they have continued to force down whatever feelings they have for one another while doing really suspect science. I saw Jasmine making two lab rats kiss. Dunk has also worked with the Division of Automata to create extremely creepy housekeeping robots. Maybe this is just me, but one of them really looks like an older Jasmine. Their test subjects have been pretty much left alone in the test rooms. It seems like they’ve been doing anything they can to impress the observers that just aren’t there. Based on what I’ve seen, these desperate people have made more progress in trying to find out what is most sex, but that desperation seems to be holding them back. I’m getting pretty close to just faking a text message from each of them asking the other for a date. But that wouldn’t really help anything, would it? Maybe they’d be happier, but would they be any closer to an answer?

They say that Evil once licked every piece of candy coming out of the largest candy factory before it could be sold, ensuring that untold millions would consume Evil saliva. This is Things We’re Taking Credit for Now. Today, we’re taking credit for the flu, the cold virus, and DarkMegaConsumption, which comes for all of us some day. If you happen to disagree with what we’ve taken credit for today, then prepare for DarkMegaConsumption to come for you a little sooner.

The Damnation and Ruination Squad has been running around recently wearing sweaters knit from obsolete computer cables. You see, we all have a supply of these. Whether it’s a monitor cable that doesn’t work anymore, a proprietary audio cable format that was discontinued as quickly as it was adopted, or the slower cousins of the Universal Serial Bus, we’ve all got that drawer. What if we need one again someday, and the only available replacement is seventy-five dollars on an auction website? What if we have some pictures that are only retrievable using the cable with the one extra pin? Well, the Damnation and Ruination Squad seems to have made the decision for you that those cables are only useful as a textile. They don’t seem to be very mobile right now with the rigidity of the various cables, but it is still quite a look. I also can’t imagine that they are very warm.

Frank the Tank has won today’s Ruin-A-Life Drawing. I wanted to make sure I understood the situation here, and indeed Frank has made certain surgical modifications to become more tank-like. The treads are the most amazing and confusing part for me. As a result of this win, Frank the Tank’s nemesis will experience a life-ruining turn of events. That nemesis is Harper Herper. We gave the Wheel of Misery a strong spin clockwise, followed by an even stronger spin counter-clockwise and it eventually landed on the space for “Really Conscious”. From this day forward, Harper Herper will be really conscious. While many of us might think, hey, we’d prefer being more conscious than we are. We live our lives in a state of flow, or at least a state of autopilot that leaves us feeling unfulfilled. Wouldn’t it be great to be more conscious? Well, perhaps, but you need to remember that autopilot skips the boring bits. And autopilot skips the automatic bits. And flow skips the sensation of breathing and feeling your own heart beat, and thinking about the other people in the room and what they might be thinking, and why are they clicking the pen and why are they looking at me that way. Being more conscious brings all of that into the foreground. Truly horrifying. And for Evil measure, Frank the human-modified-to-look-like-a-tank will be 13% less conscious. That might be a little rough. Congratulations on the win and best of luck.

(ringing)


Corin: Hello?

Violet: I have lab results to share with you.

Corin: Violet? Aren’t you the patient?

Violet: The doctor was taking too long and not very good at her job, so I’ve been taking over. I really wish she would work a little harder.

Corin: I’m not sure it’s wise to take over like that.

Violet: I’ve got results here. Do you want to hear them?

Corin: Yes.

Violet: Let’s see here. Oh dear. 

Corin: What is it?

Violet: It seems that I have come down with a number of serious illnesses that were all put on hold by my immune system until they all merged into one super illness. I really am patient zero. I’m the reason everyone is sick. I worked too hard. This is… unacceptable. 

Corin: Do we have any idea how we’re going to fix this?

Violet: The results indicate that chicken soup and time off are the best medicine. 

Corin: Is it bacterial? Or fungal? Or viral?

Violet: It’s bacteriungiral. 

Corin: That’s… So anyway, I was thinking of calling the sickness the Trudge. What do you think?

Violet: I hate it.

Corin: Perfect. Get some rest, Violet. We’re going to pass this information about the Trudge onto the workforce.

Violet: I’m going to need sixteen books of crossword puzzles, seven books of sudoku, eight seasons of a trashy television show, and one hundred pounds of yarn or I swear I’m going to lose my shit. If I’m going to be sick, I’m going to be sick hard.

Corin: Granted.

(click)

Well, that brings us to the end of our announcements, shareholders. To stop this broadcast, drink the pink can in the cooler. Otherwise, you’ll just start to hear me say the phrase “ping pong” over and over again until you do. That is, after the broadcast is over. The cooler is yours to keep, but it will take up a lot of space until summer returns. I have just been told that Violet was automatically clocked out when she entered the infirmary, and her thousands of hours of overtime have crashed our system. The remaining accountants have been scrambling to fix the error. I really just feel like this is going to be the most Evil year yet. The numbers are next.

77

77

888

9

77

77

8

77

9

77

0

0

2

77

4

Ping pong 

Ping pong

Ping pong

Credits: Kakos Industries is written and produced by Conrad Miszuk, who is also the voice of Corin Deeth, and the composer of the music. The introductions are read by Kitty McCauley, and the credits are read by Kelsey Kemmer the record holder for most priceless objects dropped at once. Special guest appearance in this episode by Kitt Keller. That’s k-i-t-t like the car from Knight Rider. You can find more from her on Twitter @TheKittKeller. Please visit KakosIndustries.com for news, extras, and more episodes. There are also transcriptions on the website if you’d like to read along with the Kakos Industries announcements. That’s K-A-K-O-S-I-N-D-U-S-T-R-I-E-S dot com. Please visit store.KakosIndustries.com for merchandise and special offers and get wonderful benefits by becoming a subscription donor at kakosindustries.com/patreon. Questions, comments, or a strong desire to collaborate? Drop us a line at inquiries@kakosindustries.com. If you like Kakos Industries, be sure to rate and review us on your favorite podcasting service, and connect with us on YouTube (YouTube.com/KakosIndustries), Facebook (facebook.com/kakosindustries), Tumblr (kakosindustries.tumblr.com), and Twitter (@KakosIndustries). We encourage fan art and listener participation on all our social media platforms. Please visit our website for cast details and the credits for all of our social media contributors. 

Special thanks to our esteemed shareholders Iain Croall, Dan Shumway, William Brandon, Jack Attack, Kristina Kirkland, and A. Rupert. Also thanks to honored employees Dorkpool Dorkuss, who deleted that photo we shouldn’t have taken, Chax Richter, who knew the word we were thinking of, Tia Reece, who found the perfect thing to say in the sympathy card, and Luci Grimm, who got the memory card out of the corpse. And thanks to our division heads Britney Garcia, head of The Division of Beanies, Booties, and Construction Projects That Are Probably Too Large for Yarn, Craig Czyz, director of the Division of Obscure Vintage Technology, Danniel R Smith, head of the Division of Subtle Efficiency Increases, and Lillian Bit, Director of the Division of Fishticism. The Division of Beanies, Booties, and Construction Projects That Are Probably Too Large for Yarn has finished the carousel in their carnival and started working on the rollercoaster. No one should ever ride it.  The Division of Obscure Vintage Technology has connected the oscilloscope up to the Death Modular Synth. The images displayed by the waveforms are somehow more haunting than the sounds. The Division of Subtle Efficiency Increases has attempted to schedule time at the end of the work day for guilt, shame, self-loathing, world-weariness, and any number of other negative emotions. Employees have been struggling to hold all of those thoughts for the right time, however. The Division of Fishticism has determined based on the movements of the Mola Mola in the Orange-3 tank that this winter will be a significant one. They are unsure as to how just now. Our esteemed shareholders, honored employees, division heads, and other Patreon patrons are the best. If you want a thank you in the credits, your own division, or other great rewards that help to keep this show running, please head to Kakosindustries.com/patreon. That’s Patreon: p-a-t-r-e-o-n.

Kakos Industries can be heavy sometimes. Try checking all of your closets and hidden spaces before going to bed.

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