An Audio Exhibit on
Dr. Indigo Hale's Terrifyingly Lonely
Search for the Star Shell


Please join the Museum of Mysteries as we as we celebrate our newest exhibit, Deep Blue Stars. Take a dive into the recordings of the renowned archivist, Dr. Indigo Hale, where they wade through the void of isolation, the fear of the unexplained, and the drudgery of research.

In this biweekly audio exhibit, Dr. Hale treads upon a mysterious island, inhabited by nothing more than crabs and cranes, where they must find a way to make it past impostor syndrome, the strange and wonderful loneliness, and the secret nature of their life's work: the Star Shell.


Now available on your favorite podcasting app!

Press Kit


Intro

Deep Blue Stars is a fictional audio drama podcast and is a of the Lavender Lemonade Collective. Our podcast can be found by searching “Deep Blue Stars” in your favorite podcatching app (an app that catches a podcast’s audio file) or by www.deepbluestars.com where we have links to our podcast in several popular podcatching apps, RSS feed, and our YouTube channel where we post captioned videos of our episode audio.


Long Summary

Deep Blue Stars is an installation at the fictional Museum of Mysteries, which follows Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale as they search an uninhabited island for an object that has captured their attention since they were young; the Star Shell. Said to be able to control the stars, Indigo’s hunt for this shell takes over their entire life, and Indigo, intent on proving themself even as the search goes awry, shares their musings through voice notes on their phone.

This story, like all of Lavender Lemonade Collective’s stories, features LGBTQ+ characters who are well past their “coming out.” Deep Blue Stars features themes of isolation, neurodivergence and yearning and is created for people who are interested in exploring the lengths humans will go to find connections with others. Every other week, we open another installation at the Museum of Mysteries for people to hope, hurt and heal with Indigo and the things they connect to.

Short Summary

Please join the Museum of Mysteries as we as we celebrate our newest exhibit, Deep Blue Stars. Take a dive into the recordings of the renowned archivist, Dr. Indigo Hale, where they wade through the void of isolation, the fear of the unexplained, and the drudgery of research.

In this biweekly audio exhibit, Dr. Hale treads upon a mysterious island, inhabited by nothing more than crabs and cranes, where they must find a way to make it past impostor syndrome, the strange and wonderful loneliness, and the secret nature of their life's work: the Star Shell.


Podcast Rating and Content

Deep Blue Stars is PG-13 due to the usage of occassional swear words. The show also handles several heavy topics including, but not limited to, isolation, ableism, transphobia, and workplace discrimination.

Content warnings with timestamps are provided in the show notes of every episode.


Accessibility

Transcripts:
Deep Blue Stars currently has several methods of providing accessibility to our audience. We provide transcripts through a link in the episode notes of every release. We have our transcripts available on Google Drive and on our transcripts pages built into our website.


Content Warnings:
Content warnings are provided in the show notes of every episode with time stamps. All episodes now have audio content warnings at the beginning of the episode.

Captioned YouTube Videos:
We also provide captioned YouTube videos for our listeners. All videos are linked through our transcripts pages and are also available as a playlist on YouTube. Please note that captioned videos will not be available on release date. We appreciate your patience.


Requests:
For questions, concerns, and requests regarding our podcast’s accessibility measures, please feel free to email us at lavenderlemonadecollective@gmail.com


LGBTQ+ Representation in the Podcast

The Lavender Lemonade Collective strives to create a community that allows art from a uniquely LGBTQIA+ lens, that makes space for all races, religions, body types, abilities and genres. Deep Blue Stars is no exception to this. We have written and cast all characters in our podcast with serious thought.

Deep Blue Stars has an entirely LGBTQIA+ cast, crew, and characters, therefore following Lavender Lemonade’s sentiment of LGBTQIA+ media for and by the LGBTQIA+ community.

Cast and Crew

The show is written by Mik Koats and sound engineering is done by Orion Ibert and Mik Koats.

Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale is voiced by Mik Koats.
The Curator is voiced by Orion Ibert.

Our cover art was created by Orion Ibert.


Branding and Promotional Materials

Coming Soon


Podcast Contact Information

Email: lavenderlemonadecollective@gmail.com
Website: www.deepbluestars.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/deepbluestars
Instagram: www.instagram.com/lavender.lem
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LavenderLemonadeCollective/

Cast and Crew


Coming Soon!

Contact Us


Do you have questions, comments, or concerns about Deep Blue Stars or Lavender Lemonade? Feel free to use this form to get in contact with us!

Transcripts


Trailer
Letters to Explain My Absence
Exhibit Opening Delayed

1: Indigo Meets Indigo Sky
2: Avoiding Sentimentality
3: To Quantify Life Seems Unlikely
4: The Bottle Tells a Story
5: Reminiscing Worth a Thousand Words
6: Indigo Removed

Trailer 1 Transcript


Google Docs Link

[Classical Piano Loop playing in the background]

CURATOR
Hello and welcome to the Museum of Mysteries. We hope you’ll be willing to join us for our upcoming exhibit, “Deep Blue Stars.” This exhibit features the work of Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale, an archivist responsible for the better understanding of the Star Shell. This exhibit is an audio experience, complete with Dr. Hale’s real notes at the time of their expedition. The audio was generously donated by Seraphim Feldman-Rodriguez and Opal Hale. This exhibit is underwritten by Lavender Lemonade Collective.

For your listening pleasure, here’s a sample of what’s to come!

[music fades out]

[a click, sounds of waves crashing in the background]

INDIGO
I always thought being on top of the sandbar would feel… Special. It must be the melancholy setting in. I’m incredibly lonely. It’s just me and the crabs and the dawning realization that the Star Shell doesn’t belong to me anymore than my life does. My extravagant, extra small life.

[Haymaking on Jupiter starts playing]

I once said you needed to know about me to know my own biases, but I’m beginning to think that even telling you that is unfair. I don’t know my biases as a historian or a scientist or a person. I just know that there are two perfect people in this photograph, and one fool.

[music fades out]

[classical piano loop fades back in]

CURATOR
This exhibit was created by Mik Koats and you can find it on the right, past the gift shop, on your favorite podcasting app.

[music fades out]

Trailer 2 Transcript

Google Doc Link

[recorder clicking on]

INDIGO
My Darling Wife,
I am sending you this letter - albeit, voicemail, but “letter” sounds more charming- to let you know that I shall not be returning for many a night. This is not a secret. Of course you are aware I’m leaving, but it seems more difficult than anticipated. I chose to forgo the crew - they were too demanding, expected me to sit back and not do anything. I cannot sit back in my own story. I am narrator, hero and antagonist, therefore it seems rather silly to lie below dock alone.

[soft piano music begins to play-- “Haymaking on Jupiter” by Romariogrande]

I am knowledgeable of sailing and aware of my own faults. I know this is a dangerous game, but Opal, you must see. The ocean is breathtaking. There is a sort of magic to being alone at sea. Part of me wants to take up shanties. Could you imagine me? A little pirate? I’ll learn the one Pim sings when she plays video games?

[Indigo hums “Drunken Sailor” joyfully]

Just to clarify, I am a sober sailor. I love you, I’ll update as soon as possible.
Yours Forevermore, Indie

[Click of the recording ending, then beginning]

My intrepid Pim,
I am missing you! I have spent much of my time while there’s still signal on my phone looking up sea shanties. I have learned most of the words to Drunken Sailor, though from website to website it says they’re different; I imagine the nature of a shanty. I tried to learn Whiskey in a Jar but I didn’t. I did learn William Taylor! And my love, how do you ever get these songs out of your head? It’s like earworms, constantly abuzz!

[somber music fades in-- “Breathing In” by ES]

As I said, I’m missing you, and Opal too. The sun shines and I don’t see any rain on the horizon. Darling, the Star Shell is within my grasp, I know it!
Yours Forevermore, Indie

[music temporarily fades out]
[Click of the recording ending, then beginning. Indigo sniffs.]
[music fades back in]

Guardians of my Heart,
I do not know when you will hear from me again. I’m traveling into unknowable lands. And by unknowable I do mean I am lost. But, only for a moment! I called the house phone so hopefully, you will check the recorder!

It is lonely. I am safe, I have more than enough granola and the weather is sunny skies all around. Think of your strange little pirate, as I venture further into the unknowable. They think of you.

Yours Forevermore, Indie

[music fades out, the final recorder click goes off]
[a classic museum theme is heard-- “Classical Piano Loop” by DDmyzik]

CURATOR
What you have just heard is Dr. Indigo Hale’s correspondence with their wife and girlfriend prior to their exploits on a mysterious island, for a mysterious adventure. Intrigued? Check out more at the Museum of Mysteries newest audio exhibit “Deep Blue Stars!” Donated by Seraphim Feldman-Rodriguez and Opal Hale and generously underwritten by the Lavender Lemonade Collective. Find it past the gift shop on the right, on your favorite podcatcher app on July 29th.

[music fades out]

Exhibit Opening Delayed

Google Doc Link

Announcement Transcript:

[museum theme plays on a loop in the background]

CURATOR

Hello, is this maintenance? It is the Curator of the Museum of Mysteries speaking. How are you? Good, fantastic, that's wonderful to hear. Unfortunately, we are not doing as lovely as you are in this moment-- oh yes, the water pipe in the basement cracked again and we have yet another leak, yes. Of course. Yes-- Oh please excuse me for a second, a patron has just arrived.

[phone clicks off]

Hello dear patron, it is wonderful to see you again. Unfortunately, we are facing a bit of an unprecedented issue in the opening of our newest exhibit today. I must humbly beg your patience and ask you to return tomorrow for the unveiling of Deep Blue Stars. I understand that you have been excitedly awaiting the opening, however we were just barely able to rescue the exhibit from, well, becoming part of the deep blue ocean. I do hope to see you tomorrow however. Thank you for coming in, dear patron and for your everlasting patience.

[music fades out]

Episode 1:
Indigo Meets Indigo Sky
[Captioned video
coming soon]

Google Doc Link

[the museum theme plays-- a soft looping piano song]

CURATOR
Welcome to the Museum of Mysteries Archival Audio Records. What you are about to hear is the voice recordings of Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale, donated to the Museum with generous support by Opal Hale and Seraphim Feldman-Rodriguez, as well as generously underwritten by the Lavender Lemonade Collective. This first excerpt is titled “Indigo Meets Indigo Sky.”

[the music fades out, the recorder clicks on]
[waves crashing in the background]

INDIGO
There are no stars out this afternoon. Just big wet clouds in the sky and the hot, hot sun beating down on my skin. All there is to hear is the chittering of crabs [crab chitters] on the shore, the waves crashing in and out, and the wind blowing through the one lonely tree. [wind sound] My own wretched voice of course. I spend so much time thinking there must be something wrong with me. Somehow I must not be smart enough or I don’t want this enough?

Then I remember I want the Star Shell bad enough to leave everything and everyone I love behind. So yeah, I want this. It’s probably just that I’m not smart enough. Or Imposter Syndrome, which when I had a therapist, was something I was working on. I’m a nonbinary person in the sciences, of course I’m working on that.

[soft music that is gentle, swells at "past shore"-- “Soft Discoveries” by Gabriel Lewis]

My name is Dr. Indigo Hale. It’s Thursday, May 30th. Sometime mid-afternoon? My phone says it’s 10 PM, but of course, it’s set to the wrong timezone. I don’t know what timezone I’m in - or if I’m even in a time zone. I suppose I’m past shore, past the time when time even matters. It is well past that time.

Let’s just… I don’t know, keep going? Maybe if I die, someone can find this and continue my research. Or maybe I’ll find the shell, and I won’t die. That is starting to seem less and less like a possibility though; I don’t know.

[music fades out]

Let’s begin where good stories begin - what has caused Indigo Hale to end up here, alone and sweaty? Where in the world is Indigo?

I am lost on some kind of an island; I’m in the Atlantic Sea, probably closer to South America than anywhere else, although, once again, I’m not entirely sure. I followed the stars to get here and supplemented it with Star Energy Readings that the shell gives off.

I do want to clarify: my boat is [hesitates] fine. If I wanted to, I could leave. I’m low on fuel though and I’m not gonna go into the ocean when I don’t know which way. I recognize that boats don’t need fuel, I just like the option. My plan right now is to take a few days to regroup and do a little bit of research on this island. Are there people? Or animals or plants undiscovered? If it does have the Star Shell, then I’ll take it back to the Museum of Mysteries with me.

[Indigo shifts uncomfortably on the sand.]

This feels important. History collectors understand when something might be historic; and I am among the history collectors. My girlfriend and my wife think my side of the library is a hoard. It’s got boxes and boxes of soon to be historic documents. Pim won’t let me say they are historic yet; that “the history of the world didn’t start yesterday”, and it doesn’t. But history continues through the last breath you took.

I might stop recording for a minute. I’m tired of the sunshine and I don’t have any sunscreen. My skin is starting to feel tight, like I’m already burnt. I can’t let the sun beat down on me anymore. So I’m going to stand and start walking around. [sand shifting and then walking sounds] See what I can find. And I’m going to record most of it. If I record what I do throughout the day on my phone, then I can hope that one day it’ll be found. That one day, someone can know what happened to me.

I really want Pim and Opal to know what happened to me.

[The recording stops. It starts again.]

Dr. Indigo Hale. Thursday May 30. About an hour after my last update. My phone says 11:05 PM, but once again, time has no meaning. I think I have a watch in my pack somewhere, so I may try and see if it’s on the same time as my phone. I normally only use that watch when I’m out on business.

Thus far, the only wildlife I’ve found are crabs and cranes. I assume there are fish, but I don’t want to look for them. I mean, eventually I will. I just never liked fish; I suppose this isn’t logical, smart, fact sense, but rather a thing I just feel within me, but fish don’t look trustworthy. I told Opal all fish were evil and she laughed at me. I said it once and now when she asks I’m too indignant about the whole thing to let it go. They just do not look trustworthy. We both think they taste good though...

I wish she could be here.

Since I have already mentioned them twice, I feel now is a point in which I should say more about my partners.

[soft romantic music fades in-- “Supine” by Peter Sandberg]

Opal Hale is my wife. She’s 25. We were married when I was 24 and she was 23 on June 15, 2018. We had been dating 2 years prior. I was going to school for my masters in archival studies and she was going for her masters in marine biology. We had met on a dating app and I asked my standard first meeting question to see if we aligned morally; did she consider social sciences real science?

She did.

And she asked me her standard first date question; would I punch a Nazi? This was in 2016, when Nazi’s were coming out of the shadows again and that clip of Richard Spencer getting punched went viral.

I would.

Then, there is my girlfriend. Seraphim Feldman-Rodriguez is 27 and shall, hereinafter be referred to as Pim, because that’s the name she uses. When she was in high school, her parents sent her to Emery Weiner Academy where she met my cousin Olive Ann Hale, who invited her to her sweet sixteen birthday party where Pim and I met. We made fun of Olive Ann’s very ugly peach taffeta dress. Which was fair, it rubbed together and made that awful shh shh shh sound when Olive walked. Olive, if you hear this, I’m sorry. Pim and I knew each other so long that by the time we had realized we might have feelings for one another, it felt weird to date. So we didn’t. And then Opal and I had a conversation about polyamory and we talked about it. And she asked if it would be weird for her to ask Pim out and everything just fell into place. We are three very different, very loving people.

Opal is much more open than I am, and Pim is much braver than me. All I have is my ability to catalogue. Which is not a knock on me, cataloguing is a much needed skill. When living in times of note, the more information you can find, the better. And all times are times of note; something is always happening and someone, somewhere is interested in specific years in history. Someone, somewhere will be interested in my story, this story. There will be a wonderfully strange teenager who hears about the Star Shell from Dr. Hale, and will be desperate to know all about it because of this journal… memo? Whatever.

[music fades out]

As I continue walking, it’s occurred to me that I should begin getting ready for the night. It’s not close to dark yet, but the hottest part of the afternoon seems to have passed, I need to gather supplies. I have with me a backpack, which contains the following;


[the backpack is unzipped and each item is placed on the ground]
Spark rocks, a hatchet, a small pistol with a package of 25 non-lead bullets. A very soft, albeit, very weathered blanket Opal made for me. 8 of 500 granola bars. Please note, I ate the rest on the boat. A canteen that’s severely lacking potable water. 3 somewhat clean pairs of underwear. I’m going to have to boil them soon, hopefully I can find fresh water. I think my order of operations will be to set up some type of shelter and then find fresh water. There are also some coconuts on the trees. So hopefully, I can knock one down with a rock or something. But let’s start with shelter.

I mean, I know I could just go sleep on the boat, and I’m definitely going to set up camp really close to it so I can keep a charge on my phone, but that several ton monster gets me seasick. I should have gotten a bigger boat and a whole crew and all that. But, I’m not trusting enough for that. I was worried a crew would disturb this island or hide the shell. Or do some kind of weird revolt-y thing.

My main focus here is not to disturb this island too much. If people live here, I don’t want to mess up their lives. If people don’t, I don’t want to upset the crabs. I am, as always, just a visitor in this place. I write down, I explore. I wish and hope to find the shell.

I’ll try and synthesize my notes about the Star Shell. I suppose if that is the goal of this expedition, then it would be most useful to know what we’re looking for. I’ll save that for tomorrow, so I can have time to look through my notes and make it concise.

I am picking up tree branches and some grass to try and serve as a shelter. I’m going to… Set them against this tree. I… Fuck my rope is on the boat.

[The recording stops suddenly. Recording starts again, with the sounds of the boat shaking.]

Okay, if we’re being honest, 90% of the reason I’m not leaving yet is I need a minute off of this stupid boat. It makes me unfathomably sea sick, which in turn, makes it impossible to focus. I want a good night’s sleep, away from this awful rocking. Moreso though, tonight I have to focus, because for the first time in maybe my whole life, I’m going to really get to appreciate the stars, in person.

I want to see the stars the way they were meant to be.

Even in College Station, which is like, not a big town, I cannot see the stars. There’s too much light pollution over Texas, I guess. But I am hoping on this island, I can see the sky the way it’s meant to be seen. Just me and the deep blue. Indigo meets indigo. Gosh, is that like, really corny? It is. It doesn’t matter, I just want to get everything ready before it gets dark so that I can focus on the stars.


Okay, so we’re looking for rope - I’m not sure where we’re going to find it but like, I assume somewhere in here? Maybe like… Yeah, right here under the bench by the bed?

[The sound of a bench lifting, grabbing rope. Indigo trips and the phone flies to the other side of the room.]

Damn! Okay, so I dropped my phone somewhere… Of course… It fell under the bed. Cool. Awesome.

[Indigo reaches under the bed to grab it. They slide the phone and the photograph out. Melancholic music begins to play-- “Where There Used to Be Trees” by Silver Maple]

So the world, in a bitter attempt to remind me I might never get to see anyone I love again, I have found a photograph of me and Pim and Opal. It’s from the week after the wedding. We’re all lying in bed together and Pim’s impossibly long arms are outstretched with one of those mini polaroids. We’re smiling.

I guess it’s kind of lazy to assume I’ll die out here. But it has become clear to me that I am underprepared and over ambitious. Which is not a new thing for me. Just, unbearable.
They told me I needed to be safe; they even wanted to come. But we can’t all drop everything for one fool’s big bold adventure. It’s not that serious, I suppose the melancholy setting in on me makes it sound so gloom and doom. I will probably be okay. But I don’t know where I am, and as much as I want to stay for science, if I could, I would be in my bed, right now. I’m lost and terribly alone.

[The music stops, and the recording stops and starts again.]

It’s still May 30th, although my phone now says it’s May 31st at 5:32 AM. So six and a half ish hours after my last recording. I am tired. Oh, and I checked the watch. It’s 12:32 PM on that one. Which also doesn’t feel right. The sun is beginning to set and while I’m waiting for the stars, it occurred to me I don’t really have a proper record of my life. Anywhere. I mean, I have my LinkedIn account and most of a HER profile but I never did the real social media thing. So I figured while we wait for the sun to set, let me take a moment to talk about… me.

[music that starts off melancholic but moves to inspired starts to play-- “In This Together” by Boil the Ocean]

Sorry, I know this is narrative heavy and doesn’t feel like science but, in order to capture history, it’s only fair to know who is capturing it. It is impossible to keep myself out of a story, so I need to explain who I am. So that you’ll know the potential biases I may have, conscious or otherwise. This is important, for good research.

My name is Indigo Pigeon Hale. Do not include my dead name in official records of me. My pronouns are they/them. I was born on October 8th, 1994, to Nova and Harry Hale. I don’t really have a lot to say about my family. I mean, they were fine enough. I don’t really know anything about them. I mean, yes they were the parents I was born to, but after I was eighteen they were an occasional call. A postcard sent to my college. I grew up in a WASPy little town and felt out of place, although, I think some of that was self imposed. I assumed I was the only Hot Topic kid in a world of American Eagle. But I was neither - I wore hand-me-downs from my grandmother.

I went to an early collegiate high school and then college and got my undergrad in history, my masters in archival studies and my doctorate in astronomy. I wrote my dissertation on the Star Shell. Six weeks ago, two months after my final graduation, I bought a boat. I decided to put my research to good use and find the Star Shell. I want to take it to the Museum of Mysteries. The Star Shell is in short, a pointy little shell of a color I don’t know yet that can rearrange the star patterns. It’s late, but I’ll go into more details tomorrow, after I’ve rested enough to think straight. But I want to see the stars. And I guess I want to be recording myself doing that… For the sake of history but also, for myself. On the chance I do live and I want to remember the stars.

I’m sitting on the beach, with my toes in the sand. I set up my camp a little further away from the edge of the island - it’s not all sand, and I really don’t want to sleep on that. But after how hot the afternoon was, the inside of the sand is cool. I haven’t seen any birds all night. But there are a few crabs.

[A skittering across the sand.]

Hey there little guy… One of the crabs has crawled towards me. Crab walked towards me? Are you lost?

[The crab chitters.]

I’m not gonna be all that helpful, little guy. I’m lost too. You want to watch the stars with me? I bet you see them every night… The crab has climbed into my lap I guess. It’s a hermit crab type, but I’m not a marine biologist. If Opal was here, she’d know what kind of crab you are.

I uh… Didn’t really realize how dark it had gotten. I’m kind of scared to look up. What if there are no stars?

Of course that’s a stupid thought. I’m looking up now… There are thousands of bright lights in the sky. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve seen. You see the old stars, the ones on the maps from before, and I’ve always wondered. Are there less stars out? But it feels so beautiful. They’re so far away.

Crab, do you see this?

[A polite chittering.]

The crab sees it. The sky is filled with light tonight. It is so bright and beautiful and far away. Exactly what I wanted it to be. The sky is finally the deep blue it’s meant - not the murky mixes of yellow and brown and grey it is back home. And I’m thrilled.

I hope I find the Star Shell. I am going to try to figure out the stars, to get home. I want to tell Opal and Pim and everyone I’ve ever known just how beautiful the stars are.

[The crab chitters, the music fades out and the recording ends. The museum theme starts once more.]

CURATOR
Thank you for coming along! We will be releasing the next excerpt on August 12th. If you want to continue to support “Deep Blue Stars,” and support our pipe restoration project in the basement where this exhibit was originally housed, please go to lavenderlemonadecollective.com or donate to our patreon, patreon.com/lavenderlem. This exhibit was put together by Mik Koats. Please make sure to visit our feature exhibit Horrible Hands: Gloves Through the Ages.

[music fades out]

Episode 2:
Avoiding Sentimentality
[Captioned video
coming soon]

Google Doc Link

CURATOR
Welcome to the Museum of Mysteries Archival Audio Records. What you are about to hear is the voice recordings of Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale, donated to the Museum with generous support by Opal Hale and Seraphim Feldman-Rodriguez, as well as generously underwritten by the Lavender Lemonade Collective. This first excerpt is titled “Indigo Meets Indigo Sky.”

[the music fades out, the recorder clicks on]
[waves crashing in the background]

INDIGO
There are no stars out this afternoon. Just big wet clouds in the sky and the hot, hot sun beating down on my skin. All there is to hear is the chittering of crabs [crab chitters] on the shore, the waves crashing in and out, and the wind blowing through the one lonely tree. [wind sound] My own wretched voice of course. I spend so much time thinking there must be something wrong with me. Somehow I must not be smart enough or I don’t want this enough?

Then I remember I want the Star Shell bad enough to leave everything and everyone I love behind. So yeah, I want this. It’s probably just that I’m not smart enough. Or Imposter Syndrome, which when I had a therapist, was something I was working on. I’m a nonbinary person in the sciences, of course I’m working on that.

[soft music that is gentle, swells at "past shore"-- “Soft Discoveries” by Gabriel Lewis]

My name is Dr. Indigo Hale. It’s Thursday, May 30th. Sometime mid-afternoon? My phone says it’s 10 PM, but of course, it’s set to the wrong timezone. I don’t know what timezone I’m in - or if I’m even in a time zone. I suppose I’m past shore, past the time when time even matters. It is well past that time.

Let’s just… I don’t know, keep going? Maybe if I die, someone can find this and continue my research. Or maybe I’ll find the shell, and I won’t die. That is starting to seem less and less like a possibility though; I don’t know.

[music fades out]

Let’s begin where good stories begin - what has caused Indigo Hale to end up here, alone and sweaty? Where in the world is Indigo?

I am lost on some kind of an island; I’m in the Atlantic Sea, probably closer to South America than anywhere else, although, once again, I’m not entirely sure. I followed the stars to get here and supplemented it with Star Energy Readings that the shell gives off.

I do want to clarify: my boat is [hesitates] fine. If I wanted to, I could leave. I’m low on fuel though and I’m not gonna go into the ocean when I don’t know which way. I recognize that boats don’t need fuel, I just like the option. My plan right now is to take a few days to regroup and do a little bit of research on this island. Are there people? Or animals or plants undiscovered? If it does have the Star Shell, then I’ll take it back to the Museum of Mysteries with me.

[Indigo shifts uncomfortably on the sand.]

This feels important. History collectors understand when something might be historic; and I am among the history collectors. My girlfriend and my wife think my side of the library is a hoard. It’s got boxes and boxes of soon to be historic documents. Pim won’t let me say they are historic yet; that “the history of the world didn’t start yesterday”, and it doesn’t. But history continues through the last breath you took.

I might stop recording for a minute. I’m tired of the sunshine and I don’t have any sunscreen. My skin is starting to feel tight, like I’m already burnt. I can’t let the sun beat down on me anymore. So I’m going to stand and start walking around. [sand shifting and then walking sounds] See what I can find. And I’m going to record most of it. If I record what I do throughout the day on my phone, then I can hope that one day it’ll be found. That one day, someone can know what happened to me.

I really want Pim and Opal to know what happened to me.

[The recording stops. It starts again.]

Dr. Indigo Hale. Thursday May 30. About an hour after my last update. My phone says 11:05 PM, but once again, time has no meaning. I think I have a watch in my pack somewhere, so I may try and see if it’s on the same time as my phone. I normally only use that watch when I’m out on business.

Thus far, the only wildlife I’ve found are crabs and cranes. I assume there are fish, but I don’t want to look for them. I mean, eventually I will. I just never liked fish; I suppose this isn’t logical, smart, fact sense, but rather a thing I just feel within me, but fish don’t look trustworthy. I told Opal all fish were evil and she laughed at me. I said it once and now when she asks I’m too indignant about the whole thing to let it go. They just do not look trustworthy. We both think they taste good though...

I wish she could be here.

Since I have already mentioned them twice, I feel now is a point in which I should say more about my partners.

[soft romantic music fades in-- “Supine” by Peter Sandberg]

Opal Hale is my wife. She’s 25. We were married when I was 24 and she was 23 on June 15, 2018. We had been dating 2 years prior. I was going to school for my masters in archival studies and she was going for her masters in marine biology. We had met on a dating app and I asked my standard first meeting question to see if we aligned morally; did she consider social sciences real science?

She did.

And she asked me her standard first date question; would I punch a Nazi? This was in 2016, when Nazi’s were coming out of the shadows again and that clip of Richard Spencer getting punched went viral.

I would.

Then, there is my girlfriend. Seraphim Feldman-Rodriguez is 27 and shall, hereinafter be referred to as Pim, because that’s the name she uses. When she was in high school, her parents sent her to Emery Weiner Academy where she met my cousin Olive Ann Hale, who invited her to her sweet sixteen birthday party where Pim and I met. We made fun of Olive Ann’s very ugly peach taffeta dress. Which was fair, it rubbed together and made that awful shh shh shh sound when Olive walked. Olive, if you hear this, I’m sorry. Pim and I knew each other so long that by the time we had realized we might have feelings for one another, it felt weird to date. So we didn’t. And then Opal and I had a conversation about polyamory and we talked about it. And she asked if it would be weird for her to ask Pim out and everything just fell into place. We are three very different, very loving people.

Opal is much more open than I am, and Pim is much braver than me. All I have is my ability to catalogue. Which is not a knock on me, cataloguing is a much needed skill. When living in times of note, the more information you can find, the better. And all times are times of note; something is always happening and someone, somewhere is interested in specific years in history. Someone, somewhere will be interested in my story, this story. There will be a wonderfully strange teenager who hears about the Star Shell from Dr. Hale, and will be desperate to know all about it because of this journal… memo? Whatever.

[music fades out]

As I continue walking, it’s occurred to me that I should begin getting ready for the night. It’s not close to dark yet, but the hottest part of the afternoon seems to have passed, I need to gather supplies. I have with me a backpack, which contains the following;


[the backpack is unzipped and each item is placed on the ground]
Spark rocks, a hatchet, a small pistol with a package of 25 non-lead bullets. A very soft, albeit, very weathered blanket Opal made for me. 8 of 500 granola bars. Please note, I ate the rest on the boat. A canteen that’s severely lacking potable water. 3 somewhat clean pairs of underwear. I’m going to have to boil them soon, hopefully I can find fresh water. I think my order of operations will be to set up some type of shelter and then find fresh water. There are also some coconuts on the trees. So hopefully, I can knock one down with a rock or something. But let’s start with shelter.

I mean, I know I could just go sleep on the boat, and I’m definitely going to set up camp really close to it so I can keep a charge on my phone, but that several ton monster gets me seasick. I should have gotten a bigger boat and a whole crew and all that. But, I’m not trusting enough for that. I was worried a crew would disturb this island or hide the shell. Or do some kind of weird revolt-y thing.

My main focus here is not to disturb this island too much. If people live here, I don’t want to mess up their lives. If people don’t, I don’t want to upset the crabs. I am, as always, just a visitor in this place. I write down, I explore. I wish and hope to find the shell.

I’ll try and synthesize my notes about the Star Shell. I suppose if that is the goal of this expedition, then it would be most useful to know what we’re looking for. I’ll save that for tomorrow, so I can have time to look through my notes and make it concise.

I am picking up tree branches and some grass to try and serve as a shelter. I’m going to… Set them against this tree. I… Fuck my rope is on the boat.

[The recording stops suddenly. Recording starts again, with the sounds of the boat shaking.]

Okay, if we’re being honest, 90% of the reason I’m not leaving yet is I need a minute off of this stupid boat. It makes me unfathomably sea sick, which in turn, makes it impossible to focus. I want a good night’s sleep, away from this awful rocking. Moreso though, tonight I have to focus, because for the first time in maybe my whole life, I’m going to really get to appreciate the stars, in person.

I want to see the stars the way they were meant to be.

Even in College Station, which is like, not a big town, I cannot see the stars. There’s too much light pollution over Texas, I guess. But I am hoping on this island, I can see the sky the way it’s meant to be seen. Just me and the deep blue. Indigo meets indigo. Gosh, is that like, really corny? It is. It doesn’t matter, I just want to get everything ready before it gets dark so that I can focus on the stars.


Okay, so we’re looking for rope - I’m not sure where we’re going to find it but like, I assume somewhere in here? Maybe like… Yeah, right here under the bench by the bed?

[The sound of a bench lifting, grabbing rope. Indigo trips and the phone flies to the other side of the room.]

Damn! Okay, so I dropped my phone somewhere… Of course… It fell under the bed. Cool. Awesome.

[Indigo reaches under the bed to grab it. They slide the phone and the photograph out. Melancholic music begins to play-- “Where There Used to Be Trees” by Silver Maple]

So the world, in a bitter attempt to remind me I might never get to see anyone I love again, I have found a photograph of me and Pim and Opal. It’s from the week after the wedding. We’re all lying in bed together and Pim’s impossibly long arms are outstretched with one of those mini polaroids. We’re smiling.

I guess it’s kind of lazy to assume I’ll die out here. But it has become clear to me that I am underprepared and over ambitious. Which is not a new thing for me. Just, unbearable.
They told me I needed to be safe; they even wanted to come. But we can’t all drop everything for one fool’s big bold adventure. It’s not that serious, I suppose the melancholy setting in on me makes it sound so gloom and doom. I will probably be okay. But I don’t know where I am, and as much as I want to stay for science, if I could, I would be in my bed, right now. I’m lost and terribly alone.

[The music stops, and the recording stops and starts again.]

It’s still May 30th, although my phone now says it’s May 31st at 5:32 AM. So six and a half ish hours after my last recording. I am tired. Oh, and I checked the watch. It’s 12:32 PM on that one. Which also doesn’t feel right. The sun is beginning to set and while I’m waiting for the stars, it occurred to me I don’t really have a proper record of my life. Anywhere. I mean, I have my LinkedIn account and most of a HER profile but I never did the real social media thing. So I figured while we wait for the sun to set, let me take a moment to talk about… me.

[music that starts off melancholic but moves to inspired starts to play-- “In This Together” by Boil the Ocean]

Sorry, I know this is narrative heavy and doesn’t feel like science but, in order to capture history, it’s only fair to know who is capturing it. It is impossible to keep myself out of a story, so I need to explain who I am. So that you’ll know the potential biases I may have, conscious or otherwise. This is important, for good research.

My name is Indigo Pigeon Hale. Do not include my dead name in official records of me. My pronouns are they/them. I was born on October 8th, 1994, to Nova and Harry Hale. I don’t really have a lot to say about my family. I mean, they were fine enough. I don’t really know anything about them. I mean, yes they were the parents I was born to, but after I was eighteen they were an occasional call. A postcard sent to my college. I grew up in a WASPy little town and felt out of place, although, I think some of that was self imposed. I assumed I was the only Hot Topic kid in a world of American Eagle. But I was neither - I wore hand-me-downs from my grandmother.

I went to an early collegiate high school and then college and got my undergrad in history, my masters in archival studies and my doctorate in astronomy. I wrote my dissertation on the Star Shell. Six weeks ago, two months after my final graduation, I bought a boat. I decided to put my research to good use and find the Star Shell. I want to take it to the Museum of Mysteries. The Star Shell is in short, a pointy little shell of a color I don’t know yet that can rearrange the star patterns. It’s late, but I’ll go into more details tomorrow, after I’ve rested enough to think straight. But I want to see the stars. And I guess I want to be recording myself doing that… For the sake of history but also, for myself. On the chance I do live and I want to remember the stars.

I’m sitting on the beach, with my toes in the sand. I set up my camp a little further away from the edge of the island - it’s not all sand, and I really don’t want to sleep on that. But after how hot the afternoon was, the inside of the sand is cool. I haven’t seen any birds all night. But there are a few crabs.

[A skittering across the sand.]

Hey there little guy… One of the crabs has crawled towards me. Crab walked towards me? Are you lost?

[The crab chitters.]

I’m not gonna be all that helpful, little guy. I’m lost too. You want to watch the stars with me? I bet you see them every night… The crab has climbed into my lap I guess. It’s a hermit crab type, but I’m not a marine biologist. If Opal was here, she’d know what kind of crab you are.

I uh… Didn’t really realize how dark it had gotten. I’m kind of scared to look up. What if there are no stars?

Of course that’s a stupid thought. I’m looking up now… There are thousands of bright lights in the sky. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve seen. You see the old stars, the ones on the maps from before, and I’ve always wondered. Are there less stars out? But it feels so beautiful. They’re so far away.

Crab, do you see this?

[A polite chittering.]

The crab sees it. The sky is filled with light tonight. It is so bright and beautiful and far away. Exactly what I wanted it to be. The sky is finally the deep blue it’s meant - not the murky mixes of yellow and brown and grey it is back home. And I’m thrilled.

I hope I find the Star Shell. I am going to try to figure out the stars, to get home. I want to tell Opal and Pim and everyone I’ve ever known just how beautiful the stars are.

[The crab chitters, the music fades out and the recording ends. The museum theme starts once more.]

CURATOR
Thank you for coming along! We will be releasing the next excerpt on August 12th. If you want to continue to support “Deep Blue Stars,” and support our pipe restoration project in the basement where this exhibit was originally housed, please go to lavenderlemonadecollective.com or donate to our patreon, patreon.com/lavenderlem. This exhibit was put together by Mik Koats. Please make sure to visit our feature exhibit Horrible Hands: Gloves Through the Ages.

[music fades out]

Episode 3: To Quantify Life Seems Unlikely
[captioned video
coming soon]

Google Doc Link

Transcription Notes: Please note that as of 2:45 am on 9/9/2020, this transcript is not accurate to the posted episode. Edits will be made as soon as possible for accuracy. Thank you for your patience


[Museum Theme begins.]

CURATOR
Welcome to the Museum of Mysteries Archival Audio Records. What you are about to hear is the voice recordings of Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale, donated to the Museum with generous support by Opal Hale and Seraphim Feldman-Rodriguez, as well as generously underwritten by the Lavender Lemonade Collective. This is the third installment, titled “To Quantify Life Seems Unlikely.” We’d like to inform you this episode contains the sounds of thunder, as well as an in depth analysis of the usefulness of people, which can be triggering to some. We will link the timestamps in the description. We hope you enjoy your visit!


The recorder starts. Indigo is walking while recording.
INDIGO
He roars, up she rouses
He roars, up she rouses
He roars, up she rouses
Early in the morning!

Put ‘im in the guardroom till he gets sober
Put ‘im in the guardroom till he gets sober
Put ‘im in the guardroom till he gets sober
Early in the morning!

What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
Early in the morning

He roars, up she rouses
He roars, up she rouses
He roars, up she rouses
Early in the morning!

I can’t remember another verse
well, I can but I am not going to sing it
The verse about the captain’s daughter
Early in the morning!

It’s rude. Um - oh, I forgot I turned the recording on, whoops.

Onward. As we talked about yesterday, I have made plans to explore the cave. I imagine that would be a serendipitous spot to find a shell, abandoned deep in a cave.

I’ve also come across the problem that I should’ve overcome earlier, perhaps before setting out on this expedition. I don’t have any real knowledge of many of the physical attributes of the shell I’m looking for, and as I’m on a beach, there are a multitude of possibilities. I imagine I should gather as many shells as I can find and then, tonight, point them at the stars, to see what I can make of it. I have committed the film of Milly and Prudence Kaufman to memory and thus, I feel relatively sure I could copy their movements to test the shell. And I know, if I’ve seen this video, I should be able to identify the shell, however one grainy black and white film does not offer much in terms of a description of a small shell.

This is what I do know. It is about palm-sized in Milly’s hand, and goes up to Prudence’s first set of knuckles. Unfortunately, we can only guess these things and a guess is not as good as a fact. It is a spiral shell, with several sharp points on it. Unfortunately, we cannot decipher a color, though some tales suggest it’s blue and others suggest golden. Though when ancient texts say gold that could be anywhere from yellow to true gold, to yellow tinted brown. So, we will see what the true color is. I think repeating the motions is what’s going to be best.

So, off we go! Isn’t it fun?

Indigo trips.

Aff. What on Earth?

Indigo picks up their phone.

Crab, I have an adventure planned, I’m afraid there will be no beachcombing today!

A disappointed chitter.

Come now, I’m sure you can’t go to the cave. It’s… Well, I’m not sure what it’s like. I haven’t been myself yet, you see? But you are much more persnickety about your environment, aren’t you? Objectively, humans are more adaptable than crabs.

Is that true? I feel like it might be- though, I suppose we can’t simply remove our shell when our soul gets too big to fill it. Crabs seem like funny creatures. And I believe you to be the funniest crab yet.


A chitter that seems to say “Rude.”

Forget it. Once again, I am sorry little crab, but I have things to do. I cannot simply lay about the beach. I have already become more sand than human. It is time for me to go on, you understand, don’t you?

I will return.

Walking continues to play under the rest of this, until it stops.

I fear the crab has become too fond of me. I wish this was not the case, as I am in no shape to be a crab parent. Or a crab friend. Perhaps give me a few days, or a few hours. The middle of the night is when I become my loneliest. I sit up in my little campsite in the dead of night, and I’m struck by how wide and empty the ground is. I’m also tormented at the thought of being struck by literal lightning. It seems the sunny days of the past are gone. Rain looms over the horizon. I imagine I may have to sleep on the boat to avoid getting wet, but the thought of sleeping in water in the middle of a rainstorm gives me anxiety and while I have a small supply of Zoloft to keep me going, I don’t know if it could stave off a panic attack that monstrous. So, we may see if this cave is dry enough to build a shelter within.

Hopefully this doesn’t upset my crab friend too much. Zoloft notwithstanding, I do feel a certain sense of loneliness that the crab is helping with. Sure the crab does not understand me like my partners, but her personality is a remarkable one. Somehow all at once I feel understood, and removed from a situation and while it is my responsibility to leave things that belong here as they were, this crab does not have the same responsibility to leave me unchanged.

Perhaps I am beginning to feel sunsick. Onward still! Ideally, this cave will keep me out of the sun. Some people can spend their days in discomfort, but I am not one. I am a brittle scientist, with brittle scientist bones.

No, a joke. Scientists, as a species don’t all have brittle bones.

The sun is hot though, and my phone is hot in my hand. Until I reach the cave, I’m going to turn the phone off. I’d like to avoid turning my hands red and wet.

Should I have a sign off? We can workshop some, I suppose. I have time.

Signing Off,

Dr. Indigo Hale

Good bye,
Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale
The recording stops.

The recording starts again.

I am now at the mouth of the cave; I had forgotten how far away it was. According to the watch, it has been about a fifteen minute walk, though it felt like hours. I tried running it a little, to make the time pass. But this tweed, which is a light tweed mind you, is not optimal for running. Aesthetical joys make practical woes, I always say. Besides, I’m not very good at running. I get winded.

A strange and collected chitter.

You again? I swear, this is hard to believe with no visual, but I’ll see if I can try and get a picture of these godawful crab. Because it’s the same crab as before, of that I’m positive. Why are you following me?

Chittering, an explanation.

I’m not the one who can reach you the best crab. If I were you, I’d go and follow someone who’s less likely to go somewhere that will hurt you. Inside this cave could be very dangerous for the both of us. I’m going in now.

Indigo takes a step into the cave.

The crab walks in too.


Is your intent to go with me?

The crab chitters resolutely.

Fine, but it is your own fault if this goes south. Not that you really understand me, but either way.
(into the recording)
I want it known that this crab went in on their own; I can’t just spend my day trying to force a crab not to join a project, so in we go.

I suppose if I’m going to befriend her, she’ll need a name. I have reconciled wanting to name her, an adult crab, with believing she has definitely named me. Or perhaps she is a higher lifeform who has moved beyond the need to use names. I however, need a name for you, crab.

Perhaps we shall call you Cora.

No, it invokes the name of maybe a mermaid, or sea creature. But nothing that is worthwhile. The crab has a full personality.

Oh, let me describe the cave. I had gotten so distracted, I had forgotten of it. The inside of the cave is a few degrees cooler than outside, which is nice. Unless it is unbearably damp, I will be moving into this cave. It’s far from the boat, which will worry me, but I’m already walking that much throughout the day. So I think, I can manage the extra fifteen minutes a day, if so only I can try and curb some sun sickness. My skin only remains free from blisters because I wear long sleeves.

The cave is cavernous, obviously. It’s deep, everything is made of limestone I think. It doesn’t smell murky in here, which I had worried about, though I’m only just a few feet in. The walls have a few cocoons, which makes me think this might be a moth breeding ground of sorts. Which is going to be embarrassing to sleep in. There’s no pooling water or creepy echo, so, so far, it’s a wonderful place for me. I don’t see any fragmented shells in this part of the cave, but I imagine they’d have to be deeper. In we go.

Back to the dilemma at hand.

I don’t like the name Crab, because it’s too impersonal and I could be talking to any crab. Blue is funny, but only because I am Indigo. But it’s only a feature; I despise people calling me Brown Eyes or anything of the sort.
Indigo stops walking.
I have a name!

Okay, you might not like this, but hear me out. Or don’t, you’re a crab. I’m talking to you, because talking into a recorder makes me feel less alone, but the fact is until I know where the shell is and until I know I’ll be able to sail home, all I’ve got is you to talk to. This recorder may never be found.

Apple is a good name for a crab.

Yes, Apple is it. That’s the most perfect name. I will hear nothing more of it.

Apple chirps in delight.

The name is Apple approved! So it seems.

The skitter deeper into the cave.

As we head deeper, I’m starting to see from fragmented shells, though none of them are in the same basic shape as was seen in the Kaufman tape. Pointed, color unknown, etc.

The cave offers a new experience in that the deeper we go, the more connected I feel to the island. I’ve traversed most of it, and I’m fairly certain that this island has no other people on it, and only the bare minimum in terms of wildlife. The flora has begun to bustle, but the fauna has remained mostly crabs and cranes. I believe this island must be fairly recently formed. The mountain may be a volcano, though I’m not entirely sure; that is not my area of expertise. These are just some preliminary conclusions I’ve drawn up based around what I can see.

The island is alone, and so am I.

I mean, I have my traveling companion, one crab I have assigned human-like characteristics to, made anthropomorphic of my own need to communicate. An entirely human response to a situation that is somewhat scary. To be lost is one thing; to be alone another.

Apple chitters off.

Apple has gone off on her own. No, she stopped moving. I think I’m following the crab now.

This could be a murder trap; perhaps Apple is a murder crab higher lifeform. Granted how can one measure a life? What quantifies life into higher or lower? According to some, it’s usefulness to society. This is how functioning labels for autistic individuals came into the vernacular, and the community has pushed back against those for my entire life. Just because I don’t fit your definition of useful, does not make me lower or less.

Some biologists define higher life forms by their status on the food chain, but even still the food chain crumbles without one piece. If I, at the top am killed, I take down nothing with me, because nothing needs me to survive. If suddenly all insects disappear, then most life on Earth could be reduced to nothing.

This has become a tangent, but I digress.

I’ve caught up with Apple now; she’s surrounding a pile of shells… There are a few here that might fit my description!

Indigo sorts through a pile of shells.

Thank you, Apple.

The recording goes out. It turns on again. Waves, quiet and tired yell. A crack of thunder.

It is night now. My watch claims it’s 4 AM but it’s only been dark a few hours. Certainly it can’t be that late. I do not know what time of course, but it’s dark. With me, I have all the shells I gathered in the cave, as well as my camp packed back up in a bag. I’ll be moving into the cave, to see if this works. Ideally, everything goes as planned and tomorrow I can focus on how to get home.

It might not work that way, I know that. Of course, I know that. But today has been fun in that, I haven’t spent it wondering when I’ll get home. I did something productive. I got to find shells, and maybe I’ve found the Star Shell.

This island has provided me so much. There is food, there is Apple, but this is not where I live. This is not a bed with Opal and Pim. There’s no one here to hold me through thunder. And I think that is reason enough to want to go home. Besides, I’ve set out with what I needed to prove.

They pick up a shell and aim it in the sky during the next piece.

Perhaps I have not been fully honest.

Listener, now that I am on the verge of something wonderful, it is time to fill you in on something that I have been hiding.

One of the reasons I could set out on this mission alone, was that I got fired from my job. Not for anything of my own doing, at least, not that I think. I was told that people were unable to take me seriously. Which did wonders to my self worth.

How am I not serious enough? The more likely answer is there wasn’t enough funding to keep my project and blaming it on me made it easier. Especially because the lab I worked at kept Opal.

I had gotten my doctorate. I didn’t understand why I was the one getting fired! But honestly, I suppose it makes sense. I had gotten my doctorate, but the Star Shell had remained missing. The perks of this, as I have to remind myself, is that I am no longer attached to a lab. My findings are all my own, no one else can lay claim.

However, my costs incurred and the damages to my body are also my own. So I have begun trying to be careful. I did the math. I didn’t know how long I’d be gone, so I forgo the crew. I told my wife it was because the crew was ridiculous and tried to make it an easy thing for her. But let’s be honest, I’m sure this is not easy for her.

This shell is not changing the stars. So we should try another. The way it was done by the Kaufman girls, Milly lifted the shell over her head and threw it once, twice, three times. Then she waved it left, right… No, the stars look the same. I have three more shells here, so not to be discouraged.

They attempt this with another shell.

I think ultimately, I just want my discovery to take me home. I want to laugh in the faces of those who had no faith in me and I want to make it up to Opal and Pim that I’ve been out of contact for almost a week. I left a voicemail to them. Before the stormy sea, I felt like a pirate. But I am not a pirate, brave and proud. I am shipwrecked; not even that. I am on a deserted island, trying to recenter myself.

This shell didn’t work either. Two more.
They throw out the other shell and try another.

I suppose I should be proud by that. I avoided the shipwreck that could’ve come by instead docking myself. But, at the same time, I feel like there’s no way to move forward. And no way to move back. At least, if my star reader is right, I will be able to find my work. And what then?

Perhaps I’ll be rewarded for my discovery. The Museum of Mysteries is where I intend to send the shell; the museum is one of the best in terms of upkeep and preservation. The Golgi Archives is admittedly a little better at preservation, but the Golgi Archives is currently run by the homophobic Hilda Stants, who leaves much of the important work to interns who are overworked and underpaid and I’m part of a group that is boycotting the Golgi Archives till they remove her and pay their interns a living wage.

This one doesn’t do anything.

They throw the shell on the ground and break it. It frightens them.

Maybe no one else cares about this work, and I’m just doing it for nothing. Maybe I’ll fade into obscurity. I’d like to think that if I do, I’ll at least have a cult following; or one devoted child finds my research.

Either way. It will not be tonight. This shell is not it either.

Apple chitters sadly.
(heartbroken)
I wanted it to work too. But, we will not lose spirit. We will just try again. Tomorrow.

Apple whines.

Don’t be sad, Apple. We will persevere.
(singing)
He roars, up she rouses
He roars, up she rouses
He roars, up she rouses
Early in the morning.
A deep, resound sigh. A crack of thunder. A fearful cry. Silence.

The museum theme.
CURATOR
Thank you for coming along! We will be releasing the next excerpt on September 16th. If you want to continue to support “Deep Blue Stars”, please go to deepbluestars.com or donate to our patreon, patreon.com/lavenderlem. This exhibit was put together by Mik Koats. Please make sure to visit our feature exhibit The Stinging Symphony: Jellyfish Instruments.

Episode 4: The Bottle Tells a Story

Google Doc Link

[Museum Theme begins]

CURATOR
Welcome to the Museum of Mysteries Archival Audio Records. What you are about to hear is the voice recordings of Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale, donated to the Museum with generous support by Opal Hale and Seraphim Feldman-Rodriguez, as well as generously underwritten by the Lavender Lemonade Collective. We’d like to inform you that this week’s installment “The Bottle Tells a Story” contains several instances of lightning and/or thunder and as such, be cautious if listening and moving. Additionally, the latter half of the recording is embedded with screams and emotional distress, as Indigo has a meltdown. If emotional distress is hard to listen to right now, come back to it later. Let’s get started shall we?

[The recorder starts. Loud rain underscores Indigo.]

INDIGO
I wish I would’ve been able to learn more of Pim’s shanties. I’ve never been one to care for music, but it is so loud from the rain, I feel like it’s drowning my mind out. Which might not be such an issue; once again, my mind is my own devil, the creature I feel least at ease with right now. Apple the crab gives me more solace than I give myself. Which is silly; why should I look to a creature for solace? Granted, I suppose that begs the question “Why should I look to myself?” Am I not also a creature? Am I not the creature whom brings unrest to my life?

[Flow to the Sea by Caponium begins. Soft piano music.]

I digress. When the thunderous rain stops, I will go to visit the boat. I need to charge the phone.

I have but two granola bars left now and I intend to savor them. There’s a fishing pole on the boat, so hopefully, I can try my hand at fishing. Pim and Opal once had a competition to see who was better at fishing, but neither seemed to think it was me. I caught the largest fish, but that was my only fish. Each of them caught three small fish, but we ended up throwing my fish back because I didn’t want to clean it.

I’d forgotten gloves and I was already overstimulated, so hopefully when I fish this time, it’s not going to be quite so heinous.

[The skittering of Apple. At this point the rain begins to fade.]

So returns the crab. Apple, come here. I’m pondering if I’m going to make a terrible decision.

[Apple chitters in confusion. The music fades.]

You could see a version of me who fishes, couldn’t you?

[Apple chitters in agreement.]

I suppose you do not know the city dweller version of Indigo. The one who named themself after a bird on a high wire, the one who has a complicated drink order. You just see the version of me who’s inspired by strange water bottles and unwilling to go out in the rain. What a funny person you must think I am; so caught up within myself I cannot begin to be someone else. It’s funny. You have seen my mind hard at work, though not in the same way as others; you have seen me fail. Which is something notable.

[Tiny Torches and a Sea of Fire by Christian Anderson plays. Deep, dreamy piano music.]

Apple, this may surprise you, but I am not often one who handles failing well. The discreet lightning strike of neurodivergence that I have become let’s me hyperfocus on perfecting things when I choose to. Well, that’s not true, I never have a choice in what I hyperfocus on. I once spent 12 weeks trying to design my own puzzle for my first anniversary and spent so much time on it I had slept through the dinner Opal had planned. Opal was so upset with me that she stayed in her room all day and Pim completed the puzzle except for one piece.

And then, I cried because the puzzle wasn’t done and it was missing a piece and didn’t she understand? She didn’t but she fixed the puzzle and apologized. Then, Opal came out of the bedroom and waited for me to collect myself so she could explain why she was upset so I could have a chance to make it right.

There’s this beautiful thing about loving someone who can and will wait for forty-five minutes while you shake and sob about a puzzle. Loving someone so truthfully that you know you will hurt each other. It’s foolish to think you won’t hurt another human. We all do. Even neurotypical people who have no trouble understanding that a raised voice doesn’t mean someone is angry with you often hurt other people.

Human emotions are complex and hard and do not make sense. And when you add misfiring synapses and trauma responses, you are fighting a losing battle. But hear me out, because sometimes, once in a while, a human finds someone who understands that to love someone, you wait through the “getting it wrong”. That there will always be a “getting it wrong” from both sides. And that when it happens, there can be a period of wait. And that when you’re dating an autistic imposter, sometimes that waiting period will be filled with the constant need for validation and a chorus of “it’s okay” and “you’re not a bad person” followed by the reprise of “everyone needs validation, you are not attempting a manipulative abusive tactic.”

[The rain lightens above.]

Be glad you’re a crab, Apple. Being human is often an unmitigated disaster.

[The music fades.]

The rain has lightened. If you’re coming, now is the time to go. Off to the boat!

[The recorder stops.]
[The recorder starts. There’s loud footsteps on a boat and waves underscore Indigo.]

I miss people. I love seeing Apple, but to have contact with someone else’s thoughts. I am alone with my own. Perhaps Apple can understand the eccentricities that come out of my mouth, but I cannot understand the ones from hers and I do not feel, even the semblance of a conversation. What’s more is I miss the culture of people. Not all societies have the same culture of course, but there are so many that are codependent. I had always considered myself an introvert, never one for parties or unnecessary conversation. But I feel it’s time to reconsider. I only ever went to a club a few times, the floor was sticky, and it was so loud I couldn’t hear myself breathe, and it gave me a panic attack and… I suppose I was going to say I’d be okay having another panic attack for that, but I think I’d prefer not. I think I just want something that simulates that same feeling of closeness with one’s peers. Unfortunately, my only peer here is a crab.

[Apple chitters, annoyed.]

A very good crab mind you. One who fairs far better on a boat than I. Between the rocky waves, I may be ill. Perhaps it’ll pass, but I’m choosing to hold on to the railing, just to be safe.

The trouble with the sea is that it is neither still nor stoic and yet it inspires so many to be. I am no Ishmal, nor am I a siren called to the bottom of the ocean. It’s wet and kind of smelly, and water brings me no comfort…

[They trail off.]

What is that?

[A joyful gasp. Spilled Milk by Jay Varton plays. It is face paced and excited music.]

A message! Listener, it’s a message in a bottle! About twenty feet in there’s a cola bottle with what looks like a piece of paper inside! The message in a bottle; I had always thought this was a kind of cartoon trope, but confronting one is exciting! I’ll admit, I used to send these out into the ocean, hoping to find a genie or a friend of sorts. I’d even write my address. Perhaps this note inside has an address! Some kind of message I could read. Someone else’s mind!

Apple, we have to get it.

Hear me out little one, we must see what the message in the bottle says. I can hear someone else’s thoughts! I wouldn’t go so far as to claim it was a conversation, but this is the point in which I have lacked human contact for almost a week. Even my calls to Pim and Opal have ceased, and so to be truly alone… It has not been an easy thing. My thoughts are but my own, and so to have communication from someone else is… It is a wonderful thing.

I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to get that bottle. Till we meet again!

[The music and waves stop. The recorder turns off.]

[Recorder on. The waves return.]

I have attempted to solve this with the aforementioned fishing pole. Up to now in my life, I really hadn’t needed to try fishing, but perhaps this will kill two birds with one stone. I want that bottle. And when I return, I want to show my wife and girlfriend how I have achieved.

[The sounds of a fishing pole casting out, a lure plopping in the water, and then reeling in.]
Cast out and… I didn’t cast it far enough. Let’s reel it in.

[The sounds of a fishing pole casting out, a lure plopping in the water, and then reeling in.]
And cast out. I hate fishing, I was never very good at it. Let me try it one more time, cast out - Oh!

[The boat jerks with Indigo and they fall. Simple as This by Autumn Creek plays. It is dreamy piano music.]

I’ve managed to embarrass myself. I fall far too much here; I’ve never been particularly graceful. My mother always said I should’ve been named Grace. But I think Indigo truly fits me. A color but a color that elicits a feeling. A blue sky could mean anything. An indigo sky screams that there is wonder out there. Deep and dreamy.

As for the bottle, it’s too far out for me to reach it like this. The water is too slimy with algae for me to crawl in. Not only that, but I have no idea where the bathing costume I have is, and I will not be ruining one of my skirts to climb in water.

[The music fades.]

A bathing costume being a swimsuit that is longer. Like a romper style; I got it from a vintage website that sells ethical remakes of Victorian patterns. I had bought it prior to losing my job as a sort of treat to me. Fashion is fascinating.

I think the way to pull it out of the water might be to get the boat a little closer. Close enough to use the net, one would hope.

[Apple skitters across the boat.]

Apple, be careful!

She nearly fell off the edge.

[The sounds of Indigo picking up the crab.]
I’m going to pick her up now; please don’t hurt me, be safe be safe, be safe… And perfect. I’ve set her, for the time being, on my shoulder. I feel like a pirate again, this is exciting! Shall we have our shanties?

[Indigo sings.]

Shave his belly with a rusted razor
Shave his belly with a rusted razor
Shave his belly with a rusted razor
Early in the morn- oh!

Careful Apple, don’t fall.

Let’s set her on the floor. Gentle now. Wonderful!

Huh… where’d the bottle go? I uh… I don’t see it. Perhaps I’ve passed it up… Let’s move the boat back a little…

[The sound of the waves rushing.]

I don’t see it. I was… Really looking forward to hearing from someone else – I don’t know what to do. This is… It’s not fair! All things given, it’s not fair. Not to be petulant, but I wanted… I wanted to read the message. Perhaps it matters not, perhaps it’s a child’s note. Perhaps it’s in a language I don’t know, but it’s something else. From someone else. It’s something that I need.

[Indigo is clearly getting distraught.]

Okay Indie, think this through. You’re a smart creature. Perhaps we have a net? Come now, surely we have something! I’m not going to sit here and let this message slip away!

[Indigo shouts and begins tapping their hands on their neck and clicking their tongue. Through gritted teeth;]

Shave his belly with a rusty razor…

[shouting.]

WHERE IS IT?

I … mmmm…

Apple don’t just sit there. Help me find the bottle.

[The True Sadness of Love by Line Neesgaard plays. It is regretful piano music. Indigo is in tears.]

No, of course I’m sorry just… I wish you could speak. I wish you could speak to me or I could do more than just hear my own voice. I am so tired of my voice. I am tired of being without the loves of my life. I am tired of being so alone with nothing but me, and I am tired being here. I don’t want to be here anymore. There, it’s out there. It’s known. I do not want to be here. I miss home. I miss my bed and I miss not being covered in bug bites and I can’t go back. I have to find it. I have can’t go home and be laughed at and even if I find it then what? I don’t know where to go. I am lost. I am completely alone, completely lost. And what’s worse? I am so alone I think the scribble musings of someone else will help.

An adventure is not supposed to be fair. But it is supposed to be exciting. I could die of the mundanity. Isolation does not feel exciting, it feels… Isolating. I wish I was not alone. I wish more I could find this terrible little thing. The shell. The horrible shell. Or the bottle.

[The music ends. A clink on the side of the ship.]

What is that?

Listener, I am looking over the boat, and the bottle is there.

I apologize for my outburst. The heat and the situation is getting to me. I will try to control them with the recorder on, but perhaps this is an important part of the process. The Descent.

I am pulling the bottle out of the water. And it seems to have taken on a little bit of water. C’mon, let’s get this out. I want to read what it says. Come on, get out of the bottle!

[The paper falls apart in Indigo’s hands.]

I cannot read it. The paper broke. It took on so much water that it’s pulpy… Let’s try and… The ink is illegible. It’s pointless. It’s absolutely pointless. Everything I’ve done is pointless.

It seems fitting. That this is the last thing I try and do. That this is what I try and do, to pass the time. To hear from someone else; anyone else. To try anything, why would I…

Why on Earth do I think I matter?

[Indigo slams the glass bottle into the ground. They scream.]

I’m alone. I will stay alone. Truly alone. I’ll never hear from them again, from Pim or Opal. I’ll never be loved like I was; it’s all pointless. I’m nothing anymore. I’m a memory, lost at sea. And it’s my own stupid hubris. My own hubris has left me without help, without love, just without. I should’ve taken a crew. I should’ve just not come.

I used to be curious how people could get in such a dark spot in situations like this. Surely, they knew it was not over until the end. But I was a fool; a hopeless, optimistic fool.

[A Small Step by Lalo Brickman plays. It is a desperate, forlorn song. Indigo is in tears.]

I know I will be at the end here. It’s neither fair nor fun, but I have resigned myself to it. I am sorry. Pim, Opal. I am so sorry for the person who I was, to have left a crew. To have left you. I hope you do find this someday. I hope when you do find this, it works. You deserve to hear it. I’m sorry.

I love you. Deeply, emotionally, I love you more than the stars in the sky, more than a stupid piece of shell. I no longer care if this is heard by anyone else. If nothing happens, Pim, Opal feel it across continents, across worlds. I love you with my heart, my soul and my being. I am so sorry.

If I knew then now, I would send a message to myself. Do not come. But of course, I do not know then now. I cannot go into time and stop myself from being here. So, I can only hope at some point, you find this. Find these words.

Is it wishful thinking to hope you find me too? I’d do anything to be found by you.

Until we meet again, in this life or another.

Goodbye my loves. Be strong, wherever you are in this moment. Be strong.

[There’s a loud crack of thunder. The song, and the rain end. The recorder clicks off. The museum theme plays. The Curator speaks into a phone.]

CURATOR

Yes, I understand… No, absolutely that makes sense. Thank you for letting me know, Pim. Give me just a minute.

[To the audience.]

Thank you for joining us on this week’s installment of Deep Blue Stars. We will be releasing the next excerpt on September 23rd. If you want to continue to support us, please go to deepbluestars.com or donate to our patreon, patreon.com/lavenderlem. This exhibit was put together by Mik Koats. Please make sure to visit our feature exhibit Skully and Sons; The Skeletal Remains of the World’s Most Famous Barbershop Quartet.

(Back to phone)

I can come see you all for dinner if that'll help? Well, where are they?

[The music fades out. End of episode.]

EPISODE 5: Reminiscing Worth a Thousand Words

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[Museum Theme plays.]

CURATOR: Welcome to the Museum of Mysteries Archival Audio Records. What you are about to hear is the voice recordings of Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale, donated to the Museum with generous support by Opal Hale and Seraphim Feldman-Rodriguez, as well as generously underwritten by the Lavender Lemonade Collective. This is the fifth installment, titled “Reminiscing Worth a Thousand Words.” We’d like to warn our listeners of a brief mention of suicidal thoughts. We will link the timestamps in the description. We hope you enjoy your visit!

[Museum theme fades out. The recorder starts. The sound of silence.]

INDIGO: [Forelorn.] June 15th. For the first time in four years, I am alone on this day.

To put matters plainly, yes, this is my anniversary day. I was married four years ago. This was the same day that the Kaufman tape was recorded, many years before that. Those two things are heavy on my mind. Two parallel events that changed the course of my life, that put me on my path. My path to the end.

I had previously said I intended not to mope, but I also had previously said I would be home for my anniversary, and now, that feels like a lie. Not feels like, it is a lie. Furthermore, my entire body has been burnt to a crisp by the angry sun, so I’m going to have to stay inside the cave for the next few days.

Which is fitting, is it not? Even as I’m mentally ready to give up and go home, forget all about the Star Shell and see my wife and girlfriend, I couldn’t. My body has betrayed me, and my mind has betrayed me and I have betrayed them. A promise I would not go too far. Surely they had the base knowledge about me, that even if I didn’t want to, my instincts could not stop me from making a mess of this whole journey. You can’t be frugal when trying to be historical and use a scientific method. You simply can’t. This journey was doomed from the start, and I along with it.

I’m not home, nor am I close. Frankly, I haven’t even found the shell. So what’s the point of it all? Was this a worthwhile endeavor, or did I just allow this to take over me. I am a foolish creature, with foolish dreams. And I no longer feel a call to action. I just feel bad.

[“Leave A Scar” by Alfie-Jay Winters begins.]

No, bad is not the way to handle my feelings. Bad lacks specificity. I don’t feel bad, I feel melancholic. I feel like my body is being turned inside out and the things I once asked myself to care about are worthless. That I, as a person, am worthless.

This line of thinking makes me upset, but I can’t change my thoughts. All the positive thinking in the world cannot fight this feeling inside me. This absolute misery of being alone, possibly for the rest of my life.

I haven’t seen Apple in a few days. Perhaps she can sense my sad demeanor. I think she finds me less fun when I’m melancholic. I can imagine why, but I had grown to love her company and to not have it now is turning my stomach in knots. I suppose many things are doing that, but she should be added to the list. The list of things that once made my life slightly better, and now I feel as though they are upsetting me.

I shouldn’t be so callous, I know. I should use this time to be happy, to remember joy. But to make an active choice to try and be full of light, full of fondness. It is not an easy one. I am not unfallible. The person who came here is made an active choice to come alone and now the person who is here is saddened by it. No, saddened makes too light of the issue. I am devastated. I am so morose that the sky should be weeping by being in my presence. For the time being it feels like the sun has flown from my life. And there is a logical part of me that knows I can still find a way out, but let’s throw that piece away for a moment. I am still here, still moving along, but at what cost? I am alone. The people I love more than myself are not around me, and even if I survive long enough to make it to land, then what?

I know I have worried people I love. Not on purpose, but at this point, surely, they think I’ve died. Surely, they are afraid they will never recover my body. I am the optimist of the bunch of us. Perhaps they have already steeled themselves that I am not returning, or that I ran away because of them.

[“Leave A Scar” ends.]

If you find this, I did none of these things. Like Odysseus, my hubris has won. You both warned me I should try to avoid being a man from ancient Greece, too proud to see fault in my own mind. And I have been humbled. If this is some sort of divine justice, please know I have been humbled. I am just a person, I cannot change the course of the world.

I just want to go home.

[The recorder stops.

The recorder starts. A brief pause.]

I want to tear up this photo of us. This photo of three joyful people. But I can’t. There’s no real physical features of death settling into my body. I touch my jaw, and it’s more angular than it was upon arrival. I am gaunt. But I still have rolls in my tummy, and my skirt does not fall at the waist. I am finding food almost everyday and this water bottle Pim gave me has kept me hydrated.

[“By the Fire’s Warmth” by Jon Bjōrk plays.]

I just no longer feel warmth. It is June, surely, I feel warmth of course. The sun is hot and my skin has turned to leather where my sleeves and my wrists meet.

Opal laughed at my long sleeves when I brought them. She told me that it would be plenty hot wherever I went, and that sunscreen would protect me. But I am so easy to burn and even in the adventure I imagined this would be, I had sunburn. I am trying to hydrate as much as I can to avoid it, but it is unavoidable.

Besides, this is not the adventure I’d imagined.

I was foolish when I planned this. If I knew then what I know now, I’d never done this quest. It feels hopeless. I mean, you understand that, right? That it feels hopeless. Maybe it is. Maybe this is on the verge of fringe science and maybe, in some way, I came out here to be alone. To really sit with myself in a way I had never before had a chance to. This moment is my sabbatical, without the religious implications. I am allowed to be afraid of this, I suppose. I am allowed to be worried about this, absolutely.

Do people often feel like they’re lost on sabbaticals?

[“By the Fire’s Warmth” by Jon Bjōrk ends.]

I suppose it doesn’t help that physically, I am actually lost. I mean, I know where I am on the island. I’m in my cave, festering. But where am I in the world? I think somewhere off the coast of South America, but that is a big continent. Even if I knew where I was, I would not be able to get back to my country of origin. I would not be able to get back to my home on my own; the boat is ill equipped and I am not a good pilot. I made it here out of sheer luck I suppose. I have been foolish and I will continue to be. I suppose it’s only a matter of time before I decide to recklessly try and make my way home. I do not think I will find the Star Shell. I want to. But to be honest, I think it’s lost to me. Lost to the world. As much as I want it to be my mark on history, I will not be memorable.

[“Taste for Love” by Breathing Tides plays.]

Perhaps in the way of Chris McCandless; a cautionary tale on all the ways one can fail out on their own. The crabs of this island will tell you all the ways I did it wrong. I do not wish to be remembered like that; in my own story of course I want to win. But we are not all destined to win. Some of us are destined to live having never done anything great. I’m starting to believe this about myself. I’m starting to see that it would be okay if I could make my way home. Because at home, I have done the greatest thing one can possibly do and I have taken it for granted. I have fallen in love and allowed two people to fall in love with me, wholly and completely. And I threw that all away, left them with a few silly voicemails that I’m sure incited fear and made them pick up the pieces without me. If I do not figure this out, then I do not know what I’ll do. I only know that it will hurt them.

[“Taste for Love” by Breathing Tides fades out. Recorder stops.

Recorder starts.]

If it was not clear, I am worried about Pim and Opal. I’m worried they are consumed with melancholy. Selfishly, I’m worried they aren’t. Which is only a small part of my brain, a secret compartment that rears it’s ugly head. I don’t want them to miss my so much it’s incapacitating, but at the same time, I miss them so much it is incapacitating.

[Apple skitters up.]

Apple, I have been wondering how you’ve been. She has returned. Did you sense my impending nihilism, is that what has driven you away? Or is it the fact that I do not look like myself; a full body sunburn has taken over, my face is burning, my neck has crackled and peeled. I smell like a burn. My hands with their lack of gloves, have been burnt up for weeks now. My calves with the swish and flow of my skirt have managed to stay pink on and off for the better part of my time here too. But when one mistakenly unbuttons the top few buttons of a shirt, one should expect to burn on their décolletage. My face even goes back and forth between burning and peeling. I feel I have become so gaunt if by only the skin I have lost on my face. I am hoping to be able to spend the week in this cave.

And then perhaps I will set out.

[Apple chitters in surprise.]

Do you not want me to set out? Truth be told, I don’t really want to set out either, but let’s be honest. It’s time. I no longer belong here. I am not ready to die. I feel as though I am, mentally. I could allow myself to be consumed in everything.

But Apple I cannot. I worked for too long to be past the point of wanting to die every time things got hard.

[A long silence. “Love Ultimatum” by Indigo Days plays.]

Does that surprise you? When I was a child, I did not have it easy. I mean, it was physically easier than this. But people made fun of me, I was too much much. I do not know when but at some point, I just internalized it all. I don’t want to get into the gory details or anything, but there comes a time in a person’s life when you must choose… To be alive. You must choose to find a version of yourself you’re happy with. And Apple, I am not happy with who I am on this island. I am not happy being alone. Perhaps I will change for the better. I won’t be as anti-social as I once was. Because it is impossible to be alone.

[Apple chitters as if to say “You are not alone.”]

I know you’re here. You have been a solace to me and if I was a lesser person, I’d bring you with me. But you belong on this island, because quite frankly, I don’t know how to take care of a crab. Like to ignore all the ethics I began this journey with, which I could not ignore for a full moment, I cannot take care of you. It is not my place to disturb the island. You are apart of the island.

Come now, don’t give me that face.

You are a part of the island, I’m not sure what you expect from that knowledge. You simply are. But I do not belong here.

I don’t think I’ll ever belong in this place.

[“Love Ultimatum” by Indigo Days fades.]

I am sweaty, I am constantly hurting myself and burning myself and crying. I don’t like crying. I know you’ve seen my cry and I’m sure you must think I’m good at it, but I’m not. It’s a very human response. I hear animals whine but I’ve never seen them cry.

It feels like your body is going into shock. Like you’re going to be fighting against yourself and you’re going to shrivel up and fall over. I don’t really like that. It hurts to shrivel and be small. It hurts more to be nothing, you know? And crying makes you feel like nothing. Like you are letting go of all your hurt but also letting go of the desire to fix it.

I do not want to cry again. I cry too much here. I want to be more than tears. If that makes sense. To be more than tears and still unafraid to shed them. Opal will cry at the drop of a hat. We watch Pride and Prejudice and she’s in tears. And we can’t tease her for it. She’s crying because it’s so happy. That they overcame themselves to be happy together. She will cry when she finds her wallet, because she lost it. In the euro-centric populace, crying is considered a weakness. But Opal cries bravely. We go through towns we’ve never been in before and stop at gas stations because if we don’t pee now we’ll explode and she will take my hand with tears in her eyes because even though it’s a town that the internet suggests we as gays should avoid she is unafraid to love me wholly. And she makes me better at love.

It is a moment where I need her. If she were here, she wouldn’t… She would be angry with me. For getting stuck here. She would be angry. But she would be calm. She would be logical; she’s smarter than me. She and Pim would put themselves together and stop the world if they could.

[There is a plane overhead. Indigo gives a hopeful gasp. The plane flies away and then there is a moment of silence.]

Perhaps they have. Every time I hear a plane overheard, for the briefest moment I picture them inside. I see them looking for me. Is that inane? I know they’ll be angry when we get together; we have missed each other for too long, I said I’d be home for our anniversary, and I will not be. I am not. It is our anniversary right now. Today. This moment perhaps marks the moment we said I do down the aisle. Us, our families and 20 of our closest friends watched us and danced with us and then we went away with Pim.

When this sunburn has stopped taking over my body, I’ll be out. If I start to sail unhealed, I’m sure it can cause more sunsickness. I don’t want to be sunsick when I return. I do not want them to worry. They already will with my thinned face and tired eyes. Eyes that are more tired?

Tomorrow I’ll begin gathering the things I’ll need.

[The Light of the Moon and Sea” by Emanuel Wilde plays.]

Tonight though, I will be upset. Because I have decided. I have failed to get the Star Shell. The expedition was for nothing except a perspective on what matters. Except for the memories of a crab.

[A rustling through pockets. A deep sigh.]

This photograph. It’s getting dark now. I have done it. Missed my whole anniversary. Apple, if I was more selfish, I’d take you with me. Because Opal and Pim would love you. This one, this is Opal. She’s my wife, the one I tell you of. She’s a marine biologist and she loves crabs. Not to eat. She just loves the way they move, the lives they lead. She cries at movies and reads Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte and loves so thoroughly that I trust her with my heart completely.

And this one is Pim. She’s our girlfriend. She’s a nurse and she’s afraid of nothing. She will laugh in the face of death and she will kiss me with the lights on. She laughs at her own jokes; they’re not funny but she laughs and it’ll make you laugh anyway. She also loves in such a way that my heart is safe in her hands. She has such large hands. They’re rough and cracked from the work she does, but she could keep my whole body safe in them.

Surely you don’t see it anymore, but this one, right here in the tweed suit, that’s me. My face was more full, and my skin was less pink. And I’m smiling, with no fear or sadness. That is a version of me who’s completely happy.

[Indigo sighs. They might cry. Apple skitters up to them.]

What the – Apple give me that back! I… Apple!

[Indigo chases after her, running breathlessly.].

[“Evoke” by Synthetic Tides plays.]

Apple has stolen my photo and is running out of the cave… Apple, stop! She’s an incredibly fast little crab, so this is going to hurt me. Let’s go – I forgot to put a pair of bands on my thighs- they do not like this much movement, goodness. Let me just… I’m trying to fixate my skirt between my legs, make some pseudo pants.

[They stop running.]

Why would she steal my photo? I was reminiscing!

[They continue running.]

We have made it outside the cave and I see her again. She is… She is climbing on me and ow- ouch, please stop.

[Apple and Indigo entangle.]

She is on my head now. I’m pulling her off, hopefully gently.

My hair has become a rats nest so hopefully she has not stuck her little feet in that. She has proven my scalp is sunburnt, good Golly.

[Indigo tries to extract the crab.]

Stop, please just be gentle. Ow- I ow…

[“Evoke” by Synthetic Tides turns into a magic swelling noise.]

The stars flickered out.

Apple has the Star Shell.

[The museum theme begins.]

CURATOR: Thank you for coming along! We will be releasing the next excerpt on October 7th. If you want to continue to support “Deep Blue Stars”, please go to deepbluestars.com or donate to our patreon, patreon.com/lavenderlem. This exhibit was put together by Mik Koats. Please make sure to visit our feature exhibit “The Black of Fight: Anish Kapoor and Stuart Semple’s Battle of Shade and Value.”


I can come see you all for dinner if that'll help? Well, where are they?

[The music fades out. End of episode.]

EPISODE 6: Indigo Removed

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CURATOR
You must take care of them. It’s not my business to say how, only that you do. Keep them safe, keep them warm. All the things humans need. They are a patron of ours now. I must go.

[Museum Theme plays.]

Welcome to the Museum of Mysteries Archival Audio Records. What you are about to hear is the voice recordings of Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale, donated to the Museum with generous support by Opal Hale and Seraphim Feldman-Rodriguez, as well as generously underwritten by the Lavender Lemonade Collective. This is the sixth installment, titled “Indigo Removed.” We hope you enjoy your visit!

[Museum theme fades out. The recorder clicks on.]

INDIGO
Shall we once again go over the facts?

[Apple chitters affirmative.]

You are a crab.
[Apple chitters yes.]

You are wearing the Star Shell.
[Apple chitters yes.]

The same Star Shell I have searched these past weeks for.

[Apple chitters yes.]

It is now a part of your body for the time being.

[Apple chitters yes.]

Should I remove the shell from your body on my own, you will likely fade. Not out of the desire to fade, only because you require a shell.

They think for a moment but make a disapproving noise.

No, forget the idea of removing the shell from you. I can’t - should it make its own decision to escape your body, then yes, but only if it is secured you have a shell. I can’t just steal your shell. What kind of a friend would that make me?

I should consider myself your friend; we’ve spent these last weeks trying to make sure we two are balanced. You sit there and listen to me ramble on and on about what brings me joy and my wife and girlfriend and all of this. As such, Apple it is only fair I keep you safe.

[The recorder clicks off. The recorder clicks on. "Say Goodbye" by Peter Sandberg begins.]

It’s a few hours later. I have thought it over, contemplated with Apple and myself. Unfortunately, no conclusions have been reached. A shame really.

The options are too many. And admittedly, shamefully, I have thought of ones that do not put me at ease. I have decided, upon closer research, that you deserve better. You have helped me. Where would I be if not for you?

Perhaps home. I’ll admit, despite all my concern, all my fear, I’d have gone home quite a bit sooner if not for you.

[Apple chitters bashfully.]

I mean it, honestly. You have kept my spirits up, when you could. I have spirits that do not do well trying to be kept up, I’ll admit.

The question I truly have no answer for is weather or not to bring you with me. I mean, the answer is obviously no. I can’t bring you, not without disturbing the fauna of the island. This is your home, and you cannot simply join me on the boat ride to mine. Furthermore, there is still the issue of finding my way home. I have no knowledge of how long that will take. No real idea of if I will make it.
["Say Goodbye" by Peter Sandberg fades out.]

This feels like the end, because I’ve found it. I’ve truly, really found the shell. But I cannot take from you. The shell does not belong to this island, it belongs in the Museum of Mysteries.

You see, as I said before, not much is known about The Star Shell, and the Museum of Mysteries is one of the best preservationist museums out there. But there’s more; the Museum of Mysteries is very small, it only staffs two full time employees and a bunch of part time employees to do tours and box office. But the reason I trust this museum so much?
["Goodbye Is Not the End" by Johannes Bornlōf begins]

The Curator is a gangly man-like creature that’s also quite strange. Not in the same ways as me, but he seems to understand so much about the Star Shell. He knows almost as much as I feel I do, and I’ve had years of training.

The Preservationist works at the museum too. She is a tall woman, one who reaches the ceiling. She once told me her ancestors created The Star Shell - she’s also told me there’s no “written” record of this, but defining history by written record is incredibly euro-centric. Which is true. Technically history is only the written record, but connotatively, history is what happened in the past. Pre-history, is still history. Oral history is still history. History is considered to be othered when the vast majority of euro-centric countries no longer use those practices and consider them “ancient” and outdated.

Which leads me, again to parts of the Museum of Mysteries that really sets it apart as an organization. It’s designed to allow all forms of history to exist. They have audio archival records and visual graphs. They’ve never kept a mummy or anything so sacred like that. They do not vandalize the dead or the living.

Which is odd, so many museums are meant to be preserving history but they choose to steal sacred things and oddities from living people. I’ve seen many museums get off by showing the work of that which they destroyed.

This is part of that human disaster thing I was talking about before, Apple.

It has caused me to be vigilant. If Indianna Jones would do it, maybe Indigo Hale should have higher standards. I will not unleash a curse or harm the dead or the living. Which feels like the bare minimum in terms of what should be done, but some people tend to surprise you.

Which leads me back to my original path of questioning. I do not know what to do to retrieve the shell.

I cannot take this off you. We’ve established this. And I cannot take you off the island. I do not think it would be fun or fair. I suppose I could wait for you to outgrow your shell. You’re a hermit crab, you change shells.

["Goodbye Is Not the End" by Johannes Bornlōf ends.]

Granted, you might have just put on the Star Shell. Who knows how long that has been swimming down sea. I certainly don’t. I wish I could just know I’d make the right choice here. If I stay I could be waiting months, or however long it takes crabs to change shells. But, if I leave, you could disregard this shell tomorrow.

One of the perks of leaving would be that I can come back… Of course, should I come back and another crab has the shell and the cycle of waiting begins anew. Or, I return and the shell is once again missing, having gone to some far off place on the moors of Scotland or something as such. I could of course, stay and wait for what could be a day.

Then I can rush back and ideally easily find my way home, to all the smarmy colleagues of mine who were so quick and willing to let me be fired over nothing. I could show off what I have achieved and be certain the shell gets to a place where it will be treated well.

Because there’s always the chance I do go and immediately afterwards, someone comes here and decides there’s no need to be ethical to a crab.

I am getting hungry. I will finish my last of the granola bars and then think this over again. Hopefully some sustenance will clear my head in a meaningful way.

[The record clicks off.
The recorder clicks on.]

Apple you are a special crab. Perhaps something about the shell has made it so that you are special, but I don’t know. Something about you, just as you are, is special to me.

What do you think?

Apple says something long and winding.

["Saying Goodbye Once More" by More than Family plays.]

Of course you can say that, and I have no idea what you mean. Perhaps, just maybe, you’ve solved all my issues with your thoughts. Perhaps you know no better than me, but there’s such a way that we cannot communicate that makes it so lonesome. I know I’ve gone on at nauseum about being alone. It’s just frightening, is all. I am no longer in the place in my mind that I was earlier. It’s just that now, we have passed the climax of this story and are working on our way to the end. This is our Trojan War, and soon, we will be on an Odyssey back home to Penelope.

Penelopes?

The metaphor ends where getting home is at play. We had already discussed that they could get another partner, should they want, so the whole situation in The Odyssey would be different; it’s been so long since I actually read that epic I don’t remember the ending all too well. Another version of me is a classics major. I’d have been so interesting, simply studying away at classical literature. Perhaps that version of me would have valued the written word more. Or perhaps I’d be studying the oral history of classical literature.

There are plenty of unwritten classics.

Perhaps it would simply be worthwhile to go home, alone, empty handed. Is waiting worth it? When I had no hope of finding the Star Shell, home seemed like the only viable option. But it is here. I am looking at the shell.

It’s funny. It looks nothing like I suspected.

["Saying Goodbye Once More" by More Than Family fades.]

Of course, one grainy film can’t tell you everything, but there’s something so… Pointed about it. It is plain; perhaps I expected an exciting color, or perhaps I am simply so shocked that it was under my nose the whole time. This crab came to me, incensed to be my friend with no knowledge that it possessed what I wanted. I’m fascinated by how she got here. By how I got here. What has led we two together?

The spiral of the shell is more like a mountain than a valley. It winds upwards, spikes jutting out gently. It’s delicate. It definitely suits the crab carrying it.

I have to wonder, with the ending in sight, what does it mean? For me. I’m just… I had spent so long on this island too preoccupied with looking to think about the future and then too preoccupied with being afraid to die to worry about the future and now, I am faced with the possibility of home, and I have to say… I am worried about the future.

My wife and girlfriend will be angry with me. Perhaps they have decided to forgive. Perhaps they have decided to just completely sever ties. I’ll be honest, I know I have messed up moments in our relationship before, but they all seem minor compared to this.
["Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" by Traditional plays.]

What’s a missed dinner to a missed month? And furthermore they care too much about me for me to return in this shape. I am gaunt in a way I was not before. My skirts still fit, but I see how I look. My eyes have sunken in, my cheeks are hollower.

The first thing I will do when I get back, is eat a meal. I think I could deal with the rest of it, steel my heart for the hurt of it all that could come, if I was fed something.

Who am I fooling? It will hurt. Love and feelings always hurt. And this is a moment in which I will be causing great pain. I said I would be safe. I said I would be gentle. And now, I have not been safe with my body or gentle to my mind. I should not find them fault if they choose to part ways.

I suppose you must think they’d never do such a thing. One can hope. But they’d be within their right. When humans hurt each other, usually they’re present to fix it. They don’t go away and become unreachable for a long time. The idea that leaving fixes a situation; no leaving makes things worse. It removes yourself from the equation. Which can make the situation worse, so I am told. Because I am not there to defend or explain my actions, they can only go with what they think. They can only go with what makes the most sense in their mind.

I’ll let you in on a secret though. Things that make the most sense in one person’s mind do not often make the most objective sense. People do not know how to be objective about their own lives, and in a situation like this, it’s all about objectivity, you know? So when you are alone with your thoughts, your thoughts overtake you. They point you in the worst direction and tell you to run towards that version of the truth. It’s not the right version but it is a version of the truth that feels… True. Subjectively.

Is this making any sense?
["Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" by Traditional ends.]

No, I didn’t think so.

I think, of all things considered, I will try to sleep on it. But I will make a decision tomorrow morning. Because I am tired. I am alone. My skin has healed in a very ugly way and I think the amount of sun damage I have probably needs to be treated. But I will make a decision on how long I am willing to wait. Perhaps, if I am lucky, by then I can have a clear grasp.

Because I want to go home. The fibres of my being are saying I should go home.

The problem with that is simply; I am this close. I have been patient and waited for so long, and to be this close? I will have left for nothing if I don’t return with something.

But I do not want to return to nothing.

It’s a tricky dilemma. Perhaps sleep will make it easier.

[The recorder clicks off. The recorder clicks on. The breeze is loud.]

I tossed and turned much of the night. I thought sleeping would make it easier, but having a dilemma made sleep harder. I don’t know, perhaps it was just easier to go to sleep than answer the question; sometimes life is like that. But, I am much closer to a solution than I had been.

I had a dream last night.

Now, I don’t often believe dreams can help make decisions, but in the case of a moral dilemma, where the two sides of a decision are your own psyche, I think dreams can be useful.

My dream had me at our home. The home with Pim and Opal and I. And we were gathered together. On the shelf was a crab enclosure. We spoke at length about how the enclosure was empty and we had no one to fill it. And there was this minute skittering around the home, sounded like…

[Indigo attempts a skittering sound. "Tears" by Breathing Tides plays]

It just seemed… The memory of Apple, of this place, will live on with me. I need to go home. I’m going to start packing tonight. Going to gather the coconuts and say goodbye to my crab friend.

I will be gone by morning’s light, with or without the Star Shell.

I am holding out hope that somehow, Apple hears my pleas and I am able to bring it. But I am through waiting for things to happen. What’s the point of waiting to be brilliant? I am already brilliant.

Furthermore, I do not need to show off how brilliant I am. I need to go home and beg forgiveness. I want to see those I love. I will get on my boat and sail the seas till I find a port. I will beg them to send me in a direction of home. The Star Shell? It’s not important. The fame, the wishes to be right?

Those are nothing. I want to be great. But I will begin by being good to those who love me.

Goodbye, though, very soon it will be hello again.

Dr. Indigo Pigeon Hale.

And to Pim and Opal,

The end is nigh. I know you will hear this. I do not know the future of us, I do not know anything really. But I know I will hand deliver this to you, come what may.

Yours Forevermore,

Indy.

[The music swells triumphantly. Tears by Breathing Tides ends.
The recorder clicks off. The museum theme begins.]

CURATOR
Do you enjoy this exhibit? We encourage you to rate and review us! It greatly helps our museum get the funding it needs.

Thank you for coming along! We will be releasing the next excerpt on October 21st. If you want to continue to support “Deep Blue Stars”, please go to deepbluestars.com or donate to our patreon, patreon.com/lavenderlem. This exhibit was put together by Mik Koats. Special thanks to museum contributor Jason Moats. Please make sure to visit our feature exhibit Chamomile Cures: Tea as Medicine.

[music fades out, end of episode]

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