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Breaker Whiskey

Author: Atypical Artists

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BREAKER WHISKEY is an ongoing, daily microfiction podcast exploring one woman’s journey to find additional survivors in an America made empty by an unknown event in the late 1960s.
In 1968, two women find themselves in rural Pennsylvania during what turns out to be some kind of apocalyptic event. By the time they discover that everyone else is gone, it’s too late to figure out what happened. Despite not liking each other at all, the women work together to survive, until six years later one of them sets out on her own, driving around the country to find other survivors. This is her, calling out to anyone who might listen.
BREAKER WHISKEY is made by Lauren Shippen and recorded on a 1976 Midland CB Radio. It releases daily, Monday through Friday. If you would like the entire week's episodes as one single download, released on Monday, you can support the show at patreon.com/breakerwhiskey or by becoming an Atypical Plus supporter at atypicalartists.co/support.
Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey.
193 Episodes
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Episode 0 - Start Here

Episode 0 - Start Here

2023-07-1702:551

Support the Show Support Atypical Artists Send a Message Transcripts Email the show at breakerwhiskey@atypicalartists.co -- Hi there. I'm Lauren Shippen, creator of Breaker, Whiskey. If you're new to this feed, let me give you a brief overview of the journey we're on.  Breaker Whiskey is a micro fiction alternate history that explores an empty 1970s America.  In 1968, two women find themselves in rural Pennsylvania during what turns out to be some kind of apocalyptic event. By the time they discover that everyone else is gone, it’s too late to figure out what happened. Despite not liking each other at all, the women work together to survive, until six years later one of them sets out on her own, driving around the country to find other survivors. This is her story. Breaker Whiskey takes place in post-apocalyptic America and involves themes of loneliness, existential dread, hopelessness, and other heavy topics. There is strong language, drinking, and mild peril. If you have a concern about a specific trigger warning, please email us at breakerwhiskey@atypicalartists.co and ask! I've been making audio drama for a long time and when I started it was very, very DIY. While I've so enjoyed making shows with large casts and large teams, there are times when I miss the spontaneity of doing things myself. Breaker Whiskey is an ongoing, living, breathing show. I don't have the entire thing planned out, I don't necessarily always know where the story is going. It is a road trip without a map, a way for me to explore single narrator storytelling and build a story as I go, following whichever plot points or character points I fid most interesting.  And this is a journey I'm not going on entirely by myself. As Whiskey goes on her journey, she'll start to receive mysterious morse code messages from a stranger. If you would like to send a morse code message of your own, you can send Whiskey a message or a question at atypicalartists.co/breakerwhiskey. The show is released every day, Monday through Friday and each individual episode is under 5 minutes. Start with Episode 001. If you are a supporter of Atypical Artists, you'll receive each week's episodes as a single episode, on Mondays, instead of smaller missives each day. If you'd like to become a supporter, please visit atypicalartists.co/supportor patreon.com/breakerwhiskey All the links are in the description of this episode.  This is Lauren, signing off. 
001 - One

001 - One

2023-07-2403:11

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ---------- [TRANSCRIPT] Breaker, breaker, Channel 19, is anyone reading? [click, static] This is…uh- sh-- [click, static] Whiskey…Alpha Romeo- this is Whiskey Alpha Romeo, calling out.  [click, static] Once again, that’s Whiskey Alpha Romeo, currently along I-80.  [click, static] Breaker, breaker. [click, static] You know, I just realized how bad those initials are, but that’s the rule right? W for east of the Mississippi, which–isn’t that a bit backward? Shouldn’t it be W for West? Anyway, W for east of the Mississippi plus the initials of your name– but I mean, still, WAR is a bit…Whiskey, I guess is okay. Though that’d be the part of the call sign that everybody in this area has, so…not really specific.  Then again, it doesn’t seem like anyone is here – no other W-call signs to mix me up with. So if you are listening somehow, Whiskey is…fine.  I don’t have a number? I don’t technically have any kind of license either, but who would be giving them out, right? I mean, in that case, I guess trying to stick to any kind of convention is sort of pointless at this juncture, so I could’ve picked any old name…  But, I mean, we all have to hold on to whatever bit of structure we can to stay sane, right? And I don’t know, I have the pamphlet for this thing and it feels like I should follow it to the letter.  You know, this thing has been sitting in our garage for five years and this is the first time we’ve sent a signal out? I mean, we’re remote, yeah, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t’ve– [click, static] Sorry, not we. The first time I’ve sent a signal out, though Lord knows she never did either. And never will, I mean, I doubt she’ll even notice this is gone, I doubt she’ll miss it, I doubt she’ll miss– [click, static] Anyway, here I am, clogging up the airwaves. I think that’s bad etiquette. But if no one is listening, there’s no one to offend.  [click, static] Yeah. Well, like I said. Whiskey Alpha Romeo along I-80–I’ll stay on this frequency for the rest of the day. Um…signing off. 
002 - Two

002 - Two

2023-07-2502:47

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ----------------- [TRANSCRIPT] [click, static] Breaker, breaker, WAR1974 on the line currently eating some jerky on the side of I-76.  [click, static]  It occurred to me that I won’t actually be East of the Mississippi much longer. I’ve officially crossed over into Ohio and have no plans on stopping so– I don’t know, do people change their handles when they move around? No way, right? That’d be useless. Then again, the FCC also probably doesn’t give out the current year as a call sign number, but I wanted to feel more official. And, you know, “War 1974” rhymes so… [click, static] I don’t know what I’m doing, clearly! This is the longest I've been alone in six years and I may already be losing it.  But I don’t know, it can’t be worse than having only one person for company for that time, right? I have to think that if other people are out there, they’ve been in a similar bind. You guys get it.  [click, static] I’m gonna try a new channel tomorrow I think. Because I really am just…speaking into the void here. Hello? Anyone out there? [click, static] I don’t know what I expected. I think I expected someone. Or something. I knew the electricity was out pretty much everywhere, I mean, we barely scraped together a working generator. And even then, we couldn’t run it all the time. I haven’t taken a hot shower in… [click, static] If anyone is out there, would you mind tuning in just to tell me if there’s a working gas station in this state? I’m…acquiring gas just fine at the moment but I’d rather not have my first encounter with the world in half a decade be getting busted for siphoning- [click, static] Probably shouldn’t talk about that kind of stuff on a public frequency, huh? [click, static] If folks are nervous making themselves known to a stranger, I get it. Trust me, I get it. But I’m safe. I’m a good person, I just…would love to know what the hell has been going on. I’ve got plenty of food and I like to think I’m a pretty good conversationalist so. Just. Please.  [click, static] Alright. Second verse, same as the first–I’ll be on this frequency all day. Signing off. 
003 - Three

003 - Three

2023-07-2602:57

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. -------- [TRANSCRIPT] [click, static] Breaker, breaker, this is Whiskey driving West on a beautiful day.  Still in Ohio. The Buckeye State. I’m thinking of heading South actually–the last time I was in the Midwest was…god, probably sixty? Sixty-one. I just remember a lot of flat. I haven’t hit that yet, but knowing it’s coming…yeah, anyway, I’ve been thinking about heading south. Cutting back over into…(rustling of paper), 77? And going down to West Virginia. I blew right past Akron without seeing a single sign of life, so I’m thinking maybe the big cities are out.  [click, static] Jesus, not that Akron, Ohio is a big city. Maybe I should’ve gone up to Cleveland, I don’t know. I guess I’m still a little skittish of anywhere that might have– [click, static]  (sighing) Anyway, West Virginia seems like a place worth checking out. Harry mentioned this doomsday cult she’d heard about down there–granted, that was back in ‘66 or something that she heard those rumors but…what else do I have to go on, huh? Man, if she could see me right now, she’d laugh and tell me ‘told you so’. Not even a week into this and I’m already going looking for a weird survivalist cult. Bet she’d love to have me go slinking back with my tail between my legs, giving up on any hope that there’s something worth looking for in this godforsaken country.  But she’s not gonna get the satisfaction. I’m not going back, not for anything. It was safe, sure, but at what cost? Human beings aren’t meant to live in a cage, even ones of their own making. I mean it’s just— [click, static] Well, even a bunch of nuclear war freakouts would be better than being alone.  I’ve been alone for so long now.  [click, static]  Harry would take issue with that, I think. Try to logic me into some kind of admission that because I wasn’t actually alone, I couldn’t claim being lonely. And maybe I wouldn’t’ve been if every conversation with her wasn’t exactly like that, where she would– [click, static]  (deep breath) I’m not gonna talk about her. I’m not even gonna think about her. I’ve spent the past six years doing nothing but– [click, static] If I’m gonna head south I should probably figure out where the hell I can get on I-77. I’m working off a Rand McNally from 1963, but it’s not like they’ve done any public works since ‘68 so I’m counting on it being somewhat reliable. But if you hear this and have a hot tip on the best route to take… This is Whiskey, signing off. 
004 - Four

004 - Four

2023-07-2704:27

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. -------- [TRANSCRIPT] [click, static] Alright, different channel today. Different channel and different state. I have made my way into West Virginia. And good lord, is it beautiful. I’m definitely avoiding all the flat just the way I wanted, but I am a little worried now that the mountains are going to make these signals even less likely to reach anyone.  I’m keeping my eye out for a better antenna, something I could boost the signal with. I don’t know much about this thing–radios aren’t my specialty–but I’ve always been good at tinkering with things and I pick stuff up quick. It’s why I got into the line of work I did. You need to be able to improvise, figure things out fast, and you’ve gotta be good with your hands.  I like discovering the way things work. In that sense, I bet you’d think this whole situation these past years has been my paradise. How do you improvise when the power’s out and the water stops being clean and you can’t get emergency services for shit because there might not be any kind of services at all anymore? I mean, sounds like a fun fair to me.  The reality got old fast. But I think I was able to build a pretty decent existence. It’s why I think I can do it again. I take comfort in the knowledge that if this car breaks down, I can fix it, and if it really breaks down, I can get another one going. There’s certainly enough of them scattered around.  Though not as many as I thought there’d be. I also expected the stores to be a lot more picked over. The gas stations, yeah, are mostly empty, but I think my odds of getting a stronger antenna are actually pretty good. I dropped into a hardware store late yesterday to get a tire gauge and air pump and the place felt…if not fully stocked, partly. And it’s not like I’m in the middle of absolutely nowhere, I’m still on a major highway. So why isn’t everything completely picked over?  [click, static] I have seen a couple of lights on here or there, which I can’t make any sense of. One of them was a roadside burger joint–their neon ‘open’ sign was glowing like it was new. So I went in and…well, I didn’t expect to see anyone, I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I thought maybe…maybe there’d be a phone that still worked or a water heater or a working gas line. It was the strangest thing. The neon sign was on. And the jukebox. And one of the lights over the counter. But nothing else. The phone was dead, none of the light switches seemed to do anything. I did try playing a tune on the jukebox but…I don’t have any quarters. Why would I? I haven’t used money for anything in years.  But anyway, it all got me thinking…if I could find a working radio tower, could I boost this signal? As it stands, I’ve just got to keep driving round and round and round until I get lucky enough to come into range with another CB. But if parts of the grid are still working, then maybe— [click, static] Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it wouldn’t make a difference because maybe there is no one to find. And I’ll just keep tuning into a new frequency every single day and talking to the air.  [click, static] But I think it’s…helping. Even if I’m not talking to anybody.  [click, static] Maybe because I’m not talking to anybody. If no one can hear me, there’s no consequence to anything I say. And talking to yourself isn’t embarrassing or sad if no one knows it’s happening. Right? So, who knows, maybe I’ll keep going on this no matter what happens. I’ve got nothing to lose. Signing off.  [click, static] [beep]
005 - Five

005 - Five

2023-07-2804:46

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ------- TRANSCRIPT Breaker, breaker, this is WAR1974. Same frequency as yesterday, but not on the road for once. I found a little house just off the main road that looked abandoned but didn’t have any broken windows so I figured… [click, static] I haven’t broken in. Just to be clear. The door was unlocked and I [click, static] Well, come on, no one’s really gonna hold me responsible for seeking shelter when there’s no one else around, right? I swear, if the owners show up, I’ll clear right out.  But it’s nice. You know? Being in someone else’s home. Looking at the books they have, their clothes, their records. You can get to know someone through the things they own. Through what they give prominence to in their living space.  Based on this living space, I’d guess…older couple? Been married…oh, I don’t know, thirty, forty years. But this isn’t the house they lived most of their life in. The furniture hasn’t worn patterns into the floor, the sun hasn’t bleached particular bits. There’s no photos.  [click, static] But there’s a record player and they’ve got all the greats–Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline…god, I wish they had power, I’d kill to hear any of those folks. We mostly had classical records, a couple of big bands that almost made me think of my parents…one Beach Boys record. I know every word to every song on that one, it was the newest thing we had. It was barely two years old when the whole thing started but now it feels like a record I’ve been listening to my whole life, I’ve heard it so many times.  [click, static Don’t tell anyone, but I think I’m gonna sneak the Hank Williams record away. Just in case I come across a working player. I’ve been trying the radio in the car every single day, and it’s pretty much all static. Every now and then I feel like I hear a little bit of music, but it’s never clear enough to tell.  They won’t miss it. The record. I don’t think they’ll miss the bourbon I’ve dug into either. I hope not, anyway.  [click, static (sip) That’s right. Bourbon. I found honest to god bourbon. I haven’t had a real drink in…god. Who knows. We had a little at the beginning and we…sort of? Figured out how to make our cider? I would’ve preferred beer, but apples are one thing, where the hell would we have gotten hops. And it’s not like I was ever allowed to go anywhere to find something that wasn’t absolutely vital for survival. I wanted to try my hand at making bathtub gin, but Harry thought I’d blow the whole place up. And you know, she’s just got a real big— [click, static] I think I will be taking my little alcoholic Kentucky friend here with me on my journey. Bring it back to the homeland.  I hope wherever they are, the couple that lived here is happy and safe. They seem nice. Based on their music and the fact that they’ve got a bunch of dish towels with cartoon puppies and kittens on ‘em. No art on the walls. A couple of fish, a stag head. Which is art of a kind. But no paintings.  Which is fine by me. If I never see another painting in my goddamn life, I’ll be happy.  [click, static] Anyway…I’m just about falling asleep where I sit. My body’s not used to hard liquor anymore, I guess. So, I’m just gonna… [clicks off]  [beeps]
006 - Six

006 - Six

2023-07-3105:16

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ------- TRANSCRIPT [click on] Ugh… [click, static] Jesus Christ. I– [click, static] The last time I had a hangover, I believe I was twenty-eight years old. I’m not twenty-eight anymore.  Not that I’m old–least, I don’t feel it. Sure, maybe in a usual circumstance I’d be well into suburban adult life or something. Maybe. Probably not. I was never the get hitched and have kids type. Folks in my line of work usually don’t– [click, static] Ughhh god, I don’t even know if I can drive today. My head is pounding. Guess it wouldn’t hurt to spend a day just…resting. I’ve been driving most of the day for the past week after years of barely driving at all.  It’s been harder on my body than I thought it’d be. Though I guess that might be the after effects of bourbon talking. [click, static] I guess I’m not used to sitting down for so much of the day. Those first few years after everything happened, it took a lot to find a spot we’d be safe in and then to set that place up. By the time we got everything running smoothly, I’d forgotten what it was like to sit still.  Not that I did much of that before. My life has always been taken up moving around, fixing things, breaking things. I had to learn how to garden these past six years.  [click, static] Who am I kidding. Harry did most of that stuff. I figured out how to butcher chickens I guess. Chop wood. Fix the roof. Rewire the house.  It’s not like I had a purpose really. Other than keeping myself alive and trying not to strangle Harry every time she wasted a ton of flour trying to reengineer a goddamned croquembouche she had in Paris in 1962 from memory. That no-good pretentious— [click, static] I can’t figure out if I have less of a purpose now or more of one. I’m still trying to keep myself alive, though I’ve gotten pretty good at that. And there’s not as much…hazard, on the road, as I expected. I’ve got enough food to last me…months, probably. Water’s a toss up sometimes but boiling works in a pinch. As long as I can find gas, I’m good to drive around indefinitely.  Which, you know… [click, static] Is that a life? Has any of this been? I wasn’t expecting to get past our driveway and find that the whole world had gone back to a normal, civilized society–I’m not even sure I would’ve wanted that. The fear of it is half the reason we never tried to contact anyone– [click, static] But there’s gotta be something–someone–out here somewhere. There’s no way in hell that Harry and I are the only two people who survived…whatever it was.  So, once again, I’m begging–if you can hear this. Come and find me. I’m at a little house with a red door off Route 33, take left at the bridge and then the third right you come to. I’ll stay a few days, take a beat, and wait. [click, static] And just to be clear, if you come here and try something I don’t like, well…as I said, I have a lot of experience in breaking things.  Alright, Whiskey out.  [click, static] [beeps]
007 - Seven

007 - Seven

2023-08-0103:13

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ------- TRANSCRIPT [click, static Good morning, West Virginia. A miracle occurred this morning—this little house I’m holed up in? Somehow, it still has a working gas line. And they’ve got a gas stove.  [click, static] That’s right, I had a hot breakfast this morning. And, look, it’s not like it’s been so long since I had hot beans, but I don’t know how likely this exact scenario is going to be on my travels, so I’m taking the little joys where I can.  I do have a camper stove with me, but it doesn’t seem like a great use of gas. I’ll probably heat up food if and when I’ve got to boil water, and I guess I could always make a campfire but…I don’t know, you kind of get used to cold food after a few months and even though we eventually got a decent working kitchen at the house, I think the ability to eat something straight out of a room temperature can never really went away.  [click, static] I’ve never been particularly fussy about what I eat. It’s all just fuel. I did use to be absolutely dependent on coffee, but I had that habit kicked out of me pretty quick.  [click, static] God, I miss coffee. Good coffee, the kind that doesn’t come in a can. The kind that you don’t have to brew yourself. There’s not a lot I miss about the “old world” or whatever you want to call it. I wasn’t exactly the prime example of the American dream or anything, but there’s a few creature comforts that I’d sure like to access with ease again. The joy of sitting down at a coffee shop. And, you know, we never got more seasons of “Star Trek” for god’s sake, it’s just, it’s really— [click, static]  How is everyone else keeping themselves entertained? There’s plenty to be said for the joy of a hot breakfast, beauty in the simple things, yada yada, but come on, has anyone else been bored? There’s only so many card games you can play with two people. As much as I like fixing things up, it can’t take all my time.  [click, static] Well. Anyway. Guess I should indulge today, while I can. Or for a few days even. I have half a mind to spend the rest of the week here. I don’t think the owners are gonna come back, but you know maybe I can poke around, see what can be found in the little downtown I drove through. See if anyone might be about.  If anyone might be listening.  [click, static] Are you listening? [click, static] (sigh) Yeah. Alright. Whiskey, signing off. 
008 - Eight

008 - Eight

2023-08-0203:23

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ---------- [TRANSCRIPT] [click, static] I spent last night looking at the map of West Virginia and trying to remember where exactly that doomsday cult was supposed to be. There’s three towns that sounded sort of familiar for some reason, so that’s what I’m doing today. I got up early and I’m gonna drive to each of these towns and see what’s what.  [click, static] If there are other people out there, I bet a lot of these kinds of groups have sprung up. The one Harry had heard about was panicked about nuclear war—but who isn’t, right?  [click, static] It used to scare me, the idea that just a handful of people in the world could wake up one day and decide to end the world. All it would take is for one country to decide to drop a bomb and then it’d all be over. It never seemed that far-fetched either—America already did it.  [click, static] When we first realized that something was different—that something had gone wrong…we’d been hiding out in this little abandoned cabin deep in the Pennsylvania wilderness. And I couldn’t hunt for shit and Harry certainly didn’t come with survival skills, so things were starting to look a little bleak. We weren’t strangers to planning outings that require a certain amount of stealth, so it was decided—we’d make our way closer to a town and scope it out for supplies.  But when we got there, there was no one. It was a ghost town. We figured maybe it was an old coal town or something that had gotten abandoned when a mine closed—you see some of those types of towns out West, but we didn’t see any reason that it couldn’t happen in Pennsylvania too. So we kept going. And it was the same thing in the next three towns. [click, static] Of course we thought that nuclear war had broken out. What else could we have thought? Everyone disappears overnight, leaving their cars parked on the street, leaving the lights on—some of them, anyway. The breakout of nuclear war didn’t explain everything, but it seemed like the only possible explanation.  [click, static] Except…wouldn’t we have died long ago? Wouldn’t we have gotten sick? In my driving these last two weeks, I haven’t seen any evidence of a bombing or nuclear fallout. So who was responsible then? Who made all the people disappear? Was it like it is with nuclear war—were there only a select few who had the terrible power to make that happen?  [click, static] And if that’s the case, what the hell kind of button did they push? [click, static]
009 - Nine

009 - Nine

2023-08-0303:22

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. -------- [TRANSCRIPTS] [click, static] Well, I nearly accidentally killed myself last night.  [click, static] I got in late—no sign of any organized groups of people, doomsday or otherwise. No sign of people, period. It was a foolish errand maybe. And I was exhausted but I made dinner as I usually do—as usual as anything can be when you’ve only been doing it a few days—but I fried up a little spam, with some canned spinach, little bit of American cheese I brought from home that I think will stay good for a while— [click, static] Not home. It’s not home anymore. I don’t know if it ever really was home. No more than this random West Virginia house is. No more than any place has been since I was fifteen years old. The cars have been more of a home to me— [click, static] God, I’m still a little loopy. I left the gas on is the thing. I don’t know how, but when I turned off the burners, I guess one knob must’ve been a little finicky or something because by the time I was getting ready to go to sleep last night, I was feeling strange. Thankfully, I’m not an idiot, contrary to all the evidence I’ve given you, my radio stranger, my little void in the form of static, so I checked the stove and then opened all the windows the moment I figured out what went wrong. I slept with the windows open all night, just to be safe, checking the burners first thing this morning to make sure they stayed all the way off.  So I’m fine! I’m fine. But it…I don’t know.  [click, static] I could die out here, die anywhere, and no one would ever know. And I guess that could’ve been true during a lot of times in my life but no matter what I have to say about the last six years, I wouldn’t’ve have dropped dead without someone taking notice.  [click, static] I can’t speak to how Harry would have felt about it, but she would’ve noticed.  [click, static] For all she knows now, I am already dead. I ran out of gas or food or water or crashed the car. I’d like to think that—despite whatever else she might think about me—she at least knows me well enough to have a little more faith that I could survive than that but…I don’t know.  [click, static] I don’t want to die alone. I don’t want to live alone. But what if I really am alone? What if we both are?  What if we’re the last two people left in this stupid place and I’m the one who sentenced us to an existence of isolation? [click, static]
010 - Ten

010 - Ten

2023-08-0403:21

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. -------- [TRANSCRIPTS] [click, static]  Breaker, breaker, this is Whiskey broadcasting from the top of the world.  [click, static] The top of West Virginia anyway. Well, the top of this particular area of West Virginia. I woke up this morning and looked around, picked the highest point I could see, drove as far as I could up the mountain and then walked the rest of the way. I think I must be in some kind of national or state park, because there’s hiking trails and everything. Or, what used to be hiking trails. They’re all overgrown now.  [click, static] Jesus, I hope there’s not, you know, bears out here. I won’t stay for long. I just needed some fresh air.  [click, static] I mean, all I’m getting is fresh air, but I needed…space, I guess, not just air. Partly because of the gas scare the other night but also because I’m starting to feel that stifled feeling. I think it’s time for me to move on. It was nice, kind of, to sort of settle down for a week, play house on my own, and who knows, maybe I’ll do it again on this winding road trip of mine. But I’ve been broadcasting every day, I said where I’ve been staying and I’ve barely heard a change in the static.  [click, static] Actually, when I got to the top here, I did a scan of all the channels—even all the ones slightly off frequency— and I picked up some voices. My heart leaped into my throat, I was so excited. I nearly fell right off this mountaintop.  [click, static] I wasn’t able to get a really clear read on it but clear enough to realize it was just…old ads or something. Canned broadcasts that are probably running automatically somewhere that my CB picked up on skip. Not a real person. Nothing real.  It is beautiful up here though. Makes me think that maybe all this land doesn’t miss people all that much. It seems to be doing just fine without us.  I guess I should go see more of it. I’ve been around this country a fair bit, but there’s plenty nooks and crannies I’ve never seen. A lot of beautiful, people-less land that is mine for the viewing, I guess.  [click, static] It’s too big, this place. Too big for me. Too big for anyone. It’s not supposed to be this empty.  [click, static] But it sure is beautiful.  [beeps]
011 - Eleven

011 - Eleven

2023-08-0703:51

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. -------- [TRANSCRIPTS] [click, static] Breaker, breaker, this is WAR1974 from I-64. [click, static] That’s right. I’ve gone back East. I got a hankering to see the ocean and, well, I can do whatever the hell I want.  [click, static] I’ve been up and down the eastern seaboard more times than I can count. If I had a stomping ground, this would be it. At least from Massachusetts to Florida, I never got up to Vermont or Maine much. I did spend a winter in Hastings, New Hampshire once. Tiny town, good place to catch some quiet. But the problem with certain small towns is that being a stranger is the most conspicuous thing you can be. People get curious. Curious people are never very good for business.  Being on the road for the last few weeks, it’s really made me realize how strange it’s been to live in the same place for six years. Same house, same town, same roommate. The last time that was my life, I was fourteen years old. After that, the longest I ever spent anywhere was the four or five months at a time in New York. I guess that was home base as much as anything was, but it never felt like home.  And bumfuck Pennsylvania sure was never home, but you spend six years straight somewhere and it becomes…something. You grow accustomed to things, like the way the morning sounds different in winter than it does in spring, when every goddamn bird in the state elects themselves as your alarm clock. You learn the patterns of the light over the fields behind your house, you know just how to hit the fridge when it starts making that rattling sound. You grow around someone else’s habits, make room for them, no matter how unwilling.  [click, static] So, let me tell you, it has been pretty nice to just sprawl. The car is an absolute mess and I tried cleaning up the West Virginia house best I could, in case those owners ever do come back, but lord knows I probably left something behind. When I eat my lunch on the side of the road, I put my feet up on the dash and I don’t take my boots off first. The toolbox in my trunk is organized with my flawless system and it has stayed organized, because no one else is going rooting through it, moving things around and messing everything up.  Not that being out here in the great wide world doesn’t come with a price. I’m definitely not sleeping as well as I usually do, what with all the strange sounds. Or, not even strange, it’s not like there’s very much out here, but just…unfamiliar. I have to make every meal myself, which is why I’ve been living mostly on jerky, and I tore my favorite pair of jeans the other day and have always been crap at sewing things up evenly. Not to mention that whole incident with the gas stove the other night.  It’s a small price to pay, though. Freedom shouldn’t come at a cost but…well, I guess that’s sort of how we ended up in this situation in the first place, isn’t it? [click, static]
012 - Twelve

012 - Twelve

2023-08-0802:58

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. -------- [TRANSCRIPTS] [click, static] (sigh) Look, I know that no one is listening, I know I’m just talking to myself to keep myself from going crazy too quickly but I didn’t mean… [click, static] We didn’t cause this. Whatever went wrong six years ago that drained the world of seemingly every other human being had nothing to do with us. Which, you know, of course it didn’t. How could it? Two people with no real power between them can’t be responsible for doomsday.  All I meant when I said that was…well. We—Harry and I—we weren’t exactly on our way up when this whole thing kicked off. The forecast wasn't so sunny and then all at once, we had this chance dropped in our laps. And we took it.  You know, we didn’t even know that anything had happened for, god, months? And then, of course, it all made sense, I mean, how else would we have gotten lucky the way we did. And we tried to contact the rest of the team but, you know, it was never that easy to reliably get a hold of each other even in the best of times so… [click, static] Peter, Richie, Don—you sons of bitches weren’t exactly the best people in the world, but you knew your business and you never blinked at a woman doing what I do, which shouldn’t count for a lot, but that’s the world we live in, I guess. Wherever you are, I hope you got away scot-free too. Life doesn’t hand out these second chances all that often—third, fourth, fifth chance, if I’m honest so I hope to god we’re all doing it right.  [click, static] I would have that nightmare sometimes though. That we did cause it. That wishing for something made it happen. That desperation led to destruction. It’s— [click, static]  It’s goddamn stupid is what it is. Stupid and arrogant. I don’t have that much affect on the world, I never have and I’d wager that I never will.  [click, static] Knowing that doesn’t stop the nightmares though. 
013 - Thirteen

013 - Thirteen

2023-08-0903:00

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. -------- [TRANSCRIPTS] [click, static] So here’s the thing. This junker I’m driving around isn’t exactly ready for Formula One, but it can get up to a hundred without gasping, and it’s not like there’s highway patrol so… [click, static] Whipping down I-64 at a hundred miles an hour…good idea or terrible idea? I could wrap myself around a telephone pole, but I don’t think I’m going to get pulled over. And it’s not like I’m in a rush anywhere but…come on, it’d be fun, right?  I guess I should worry about deer though. I hit a deer once when I was sixteen and god, it was awful. The deer was fine, but it was goddamned terrifying and it bent my car up something good. And I loved that car. My dad started fixing it up for me when I was twelve and then I took over after he— [click, static] It wasn’t a fancy car by any stretch, it wasn’t even a particularly good car. But it ran. And it was mine. And even though the paint was dull and one of the side mirrors came from a different model car entirely, I still kept it pristine. And then a stupid deer broke one of the headlights and busted up the hood. I was never able to fix it—the hood that is, I did get a new headlight—but that car still saw me through the rest of my teen years and a good chunk of my twenties.  I think that’s the last thing I had that my dad had touched. I had to ditch it on a job in Illinois when I was twenty-seven and I told myself I’d go back for it, but by the time I could, I’d forgotten exactly where I’d put it.  Maybe that’s a way to spend my time—go looking for a car I parked eight years ago. It’d sure keep me busy.  I think I probably will start heading west again once I’ve gotten to the coast. Go from ocean to ocean. I’m not as familiar with things once you cross over the Mississippi, but it’s not like getting lost is gonna delay me from something. I just know I can’t keep….circling around, never going further than eight hundred miles from Pennsylvania. Feels too much like I might decide to pack it all in and go back. And I am not going back.  [click, static]
014 - Fourteen

014 - Fourteen

2023-08-1005:37

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. -------- [TRANSCRIPTS] (for full transcripts, visit breakerwhiskey.tumblr.com [click, static] Breaker, breaker, this is Whiskey breathing in ocean air.  Well. Almost. I’m still about seventy miles from Virginia Beach, but I swear I can smell the salt on the air.  The last time I was at the ocean was…god, probably a year before the- I don’t know what to call it, The Incident, whatever the hell it was. I’d gotten a lead on another job up in Boston and my contact lived out on the Cape, so I went out there to get the specs of the gig.  [click, static] Francis Lennon, that was his name. Sorry, Francis, for shouting your name out on the airwaves but I really don’t think anyone’s listening and also, I’m fairly certain you’re dead. Not to say I hope he’s dead or anything, not at all, just that the last time I saw Francis, he was already well into his eighties and that was seven years ago. and that’d be plenty of reason to think he might not be kicking anymore even before you add the realities of living on your own at that age in times like these… He was a real character. Lived in this great old house all the way up in Provincetown, you know, the kind that has one of those little perches up on the top, god, what are they called… [click, static] Anyway, he’d always be dressed in these fine shirts and fancy trousers, except he usually covered them up by wearing a dressing gown at all hours of the day, like he was Sherlock Holmes or something. I think he saw himself as a bit of an eccentric. Or he just was a bit of an eccentric.  [click, static] You meet a lot of bizarre people in my line of work—my old line of work. Especially once I started doing the…higher class jobs, the ones that are way less expedient but a hell of a lot safer—that kind of stuff, the art, the antiquities, jewelry, whatever—weirdest bunch of people are obsessed with that stuff. And knowing everything about those particulars was never my job, so I never troubled myself with learning much about it.  But Francis knew it all. The American masters were his specialty, but there wasn’t an art form he couldn’t talk about. And his place was just filled to the brim with it—I’m sure if I were a different person, or if someone like Harry were walking through his house, they’d be able to identify every piece. I wouldn’t doubt that his collection was worth seven figures or more.  [click, static] Maybe that’s why he only ever invited me when he had a new lead, instead of Peter or whoever. He knew I couldn’t care less about what he hung on his walls—I’d listen when he told me all about his newest acquisition, but I wouldn’t try to…one up him, or sneak something out under his nose.  He was a good man. An odd dresser, fast talker, and he’d put a dab of hot sauce in his iced tea, which I always thought was pretty foul, but he was kind. And I don’t know if he really had anyone. He lived in that house all by himself, and I only ever saw him…once a year at most? But I’d always go up with the intention to be out the next day and inevitably it’d turn into a whole weekend. He’d make me eat steamed clams—which I hate—and show me the new hobby he’d picked up. I think last time it was…stained glass? He’d walk along the beach and find bottles or bits of sea glass, break them down or polish them up and fit them together into some kind of pattern that he’d then solder together.  He had three whole pieces done when I was there, and he’d leaned them against the window so that they’d catch the light, colors speckling his kitchen floor.  [click, static]
015 - Fifteen

015 - Fifteen

2023-08-1103:58

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ------ [TRANSCRIPT] [click, static] One week ago I was on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains and now here I am looking out over the Atlantic Ocean.  It’s…big.  [click, static]  That’s a stupid thing to say, of course it’s big, it’s the ocean. And it’s tiny compared to the Pacific. But it’s still, you know…yawning. Is that the right word? I thought the ocean—which always feels big—would just…fit right in with the rest off the huge emptiness. But it’s somehow even bigger in context.  I wonder what’s going on over there—out, across the ocean, in other countries. Is it the same as here? Is everyone gone? Is anyone also trying to reach out? Fruitlessly? [click, static] There’s a lot of old shit in Virginia. Did you know they made a whole colonial town nearby? Williamsburg. The entire place is trapped in seventeen-whatever. “A Living History Museum” is what they called it on some brochures I found. They had…actors, I guess, dressing up as the founding fathers or whatever, going around and pretending like it was the olden days.  What an absolute trip. All these old buildings, horse posts, the whole nine—and lemme tell you, it’s even creepier without any people around. Like I’ve been the last person on Earth for two hundred years.  Which I’m not. No matter what I see—or don’t see—out here, I know I’m not the very last. I’m not the only.  [click, static] Harry would probably love it. All the antique crap, the costumes…It’s…theatrical. Like she is. Like Francis was.  [click, static]  A widow’s walk. I remembered this morning—that’s what the little thing on top of Francis’ house was called. A widow’s walk. Like a crow’s nest on a ship—a place to look out over the ocean from. They’re all over Cape Cod.  And I guess they’re called that because the people who’d be looking out from them were the wives of sailors. Men who were more devoted to the sea than the women they confined to their homes. Women who had nothing to do but stand on a perch and pace and worry when their husbands were coming back.  But they’re not called ‘wives walk’s. They’re called ‘widow’s walk’s. The men rarely came back. And the women were still there, looking out over the endless water, waiting to see a boat that would never come. Is that… [click, static] (quietly) Is that what I’ve done to Harry? I told her I was never coming back but now I— [click, static] Never mind. It’s not important anymore. There aren’t any more widows to walk and I’d bet most of those houses are standing empty, ready to fall into the ocean, with no one any the wiser.  I wonder if they’ve got widow’s walks out on the West coast. [click, static]
016 - Sixteen

016 - Sixteen

2023-08-1404:53

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ------ [TRANSCRIPT] [click, static]  Breaker, breaker, this is Whiskey, once again crossing a state line.  Let’s see, in three weeks, I’ve been to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois—briefly—West Virginia, Virginia, and now back through both those states to Kentucky.  [click, static] That’s not actually that many places for three weeks. I guess I’ve been doing a lot of aimless driving.  Aimless is probably not a bad way to describe my whole life, if I’m honest. I never had any kind of plan. That wasn’t my job. Peter was always the brains of the operation, the planning guy. I worked with other guys leading the charge before, but he was always my favorite.  [click, static] Hear that Petey? You were my favorite.  [click, static] He probably wouldn’t care. He definitely hated being called Petey. But he otherwise didn’t care all that much what people thought of him as long as they got the job done.  I don’t know if I should be thinking of him in past tense. But what other information do I have to go on? He wasn’t headed anywhere good the last time I saw him and I doubt he got lucky like Harry and I did… [click, static] Jesus, not that we were lucky. It was…horrible, one of the worst— [click, static] (clears throat) In some ways that is just part of life, isn’t it? Losing track of where someone is, if they’re even still alive. The older you get, the more people you have in your past. And I don’t even mean strangers—I’m talking about close friends, long time colleagues, exes. It’s not like you can subscribe to a magazine called “Everyone you’ve ever cared about! Where are they now?” [click, static] Like my best friend when I was a kid — Mildred Wilcox. Millie and I were thick as thieves from the time we were seven years old until we were fifteen and I left home. She was everything to me—my confidant, my partner in crime, my…sister. And I haven’t spoken to her in nearly twenty years.  We kept in touch a little after I first left home—I’d send her letters and postcards from the places I went. But then she went to college and her family moved addresses or something, because all my letters came back to me, with “wrong address” stamps all over them. And I never had a reliable address to receive mail—not until I got my act together and at least got myself a PO Box, so we just…lost each other. I never got the phone number for her dorm and half the time I didn’t even have a phone myself… So we went from two people who were the closest of friends, to two people who tried to keep in touch as best they could to…never speaking again.  I don’t even remember the last time I talked to her. It wouldn’t have stood out as remarkable at the time because I’d had no idea it would be the last time.  [click, static] Did people know? That they were talking to their loved ones for the last time? Was it sudden or slow? Harry and I…we didn’t see anything, we didn’t hear anything. We didn’t know. We didn’t know there was anything to know until it was too late. What happened had already come to pass and hadn’t left enough evidence behind for us to put the pieces together.  Six months we laid low, had no contact with anyone. I didn’t know it was the last time then either. If I had, I think I would’ve risked it. Would’ve risked being caught just so I could have a conversation with a stranger one more time. Even if it was just to say goodbye.  Did anyone get a chance to say goodbye? [click, static] [beeps]
017 - Seventeen

017 - Seventeen

2023-08-1501:16

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ------ [TRANSCRIPT] [beeps] [click, static] Hello? Hello?  [click, static] Breaker, breaker, this is WAR1974, currently in Kentucky. I think I’m receiving something.  [laugh off mic] Goddamn, I think I’m actually receiving. It sounds like morse code.  [click, static] [extremely faint beeps] [click, static] Hello? Hello. Shi- [click, static] I don’t know if you can hear me, but I think I can hear you. The code was coming in so clear just a moment ago. I… [click, static] Crap. It’s these hills. It’s too late and too dark for me to want to go venturing out right now–I’m desperate, but I’m not stupid. So…keep transmitting if you can. And I’ll come out, and I’ll find you in the morning. Wherever you are. [click, static] [beeps]
018 - Eighteen

018 - Eighteen

2023-08-1601:31

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ------ [TRANSCRIPT] [click, static] Good morning, mysterious stranger. So, as it happens, the moment I got my car back onto the highway, your transmission started to come in, loud and clear. I’m not a hundred percent, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same phrase repeated over and over.  [click, static] Yeah, I don’t know morse code. Other than SOS. Dot dot dot dash dash dash dot dot dot. So I’m fairly confident that there’s an “o” and an “s” in your transmission, but that’s all I’ve got. So if you can speak, that’d be preferable.  [click, static] But don’t worry, not knowing morse is not gonna discourage me. I figure I’ll drive up and down the highway, find the limits of the range, and then do that again in some kind of square, circle I don’t know, I need to look at my atlas and figure out the best way to do this. Zero in on location or something.  [click, static] So, if at any point you wanna help me out by giving me a clue, that’d be much appreciated. And in the meantime, I’ll just keep driving and you keep transmitting.  [click, static]  [static] [stray beeps]
019 - Nineteen

019 - Nineteen

2023-08-1704:12

Please visit breakerwhiskey.com for more information or to send a message to Whiskey's radio. Breaker Whiskey is an Atypical Artists production created by Lauren Shippen. If you'd like to support the show, please visit patreon.com/breakerwhiskey. ------ [TRANSCRIPT] It’s occurring to me now that you may not even be actively transmitting. This could be some kind of emergency alert system that’s been going out for years, sent from a station manned by no one.  [click, static] If that station is here in Kentucky, I don’t have a clue where. I drove forty miles in each direction and the clarity of the code didn’t change in any way that made any kind of sense. It would get clearer or it’d disappear into static without any rhyme or reason. I don’t know, maybe it’s the hills, messing things up.  [click, static] Or…maybe… [click, static] Maybe this is all…skip. Picking up signals from far away. It has something to do with solar flares, I think. I don’t know, my dad used to talk about back in the day. He always got so excited when he picked someone up from, say, Alabama or something. Somewhere really different. He mostly drove the northern east-west route—the route I set off on more than a week ago—so anything from the south felt exotic.  I don’t know if I mentioned that. That my dad was a truck driver. He loved his CB. I wish I’d kept it. But I already had the car he’d fixed up for me, and needed to sell the truck and didn’t know how to get the CB out of the truck, so…yeah.  I wish I’d paid more attention to him when he talked about how to use it too.  Anyway. If you are a real person, somewhere, anywhere, and you’re listening, now you know a little more about me.  I wish I knew something about you. Anything. I was never the most social growing up. I don’t know if its because I was a tomboy or because I was so used to it being just me and my dad, but I had a hard time fitting in with new groups. Other girls thought I was weird and the boys didn’t know what to think of me, so I mostly kept to myself. That’s the reason I fell in love with tinkering with things, I guess. Or part of it anyway.  And even as an adult, it’s not like I had a bustling social calendar. But I was always surrounded by interesting people. Always meeting new folks. And then when I got into a rhythm with work, I ended up being on crews with the same people over and over and they…sort of become your friends.  [click, static] Though that’s not how I would’ve characterized Harry back then. I’m not sure I would call her a friend now. I’m not sure there’s a word for two people who are relying on each other to survive but who hate each other’s guts. A…symbiotic relationship of sorts, I suppose.  All this to say, it’s been a very long time since I’ve met someone new. And despite never seeking out reams and reams of friends, I didn’t realize just how hard it would be to never meet anyone new. I don’t think people are supposed to only talk to one other person their whole lives. And that’s what it was starting to look like—that we’d be talking to each other and only each other for the rest of our lives.  [click, static] Maybe there’s people out there who have some kind of romantic notion that one person is all you need if that person is the one. Obviously, my situation does not apply, but I really think even in a romantic, soulmate style scenario, those two people would drive each other crazy.  I’m guessing, if you exist, you’re equally in need of some variety. So, please, tell me where you are if you can. And I’ll…try and figure out what the hell you’re saying so that if you do tell me through morse code, I’ll actually be able to understand it.  Whiskey out.  [click, static]
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Comments (4)

mysteriouscauliflower

Can we have the morse code translation please?

Nov 23rd
Reply

mysteriouscauliflower

Doesn't play for me, and where is the transcript for it?

Nov 22nd
Reply

Alex Hamling

How's the electricity still on and running in order to run the gas pumps? What sort of protein have you been enjoying on the road? Have the nuclear plants all melted down by now? Have the F1 generation crops all died and left empty fields?

Nov 10th
Reply

mysteriouscauliflower

I think there should be some kind of visual with each episode because the transmission of the morse code confuses me without a reference!

Sep 4th
Reply
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