RICHARDS: What do we know so far, Chloe?
CHLOE: That there have been two people who wound up missing, and dead at the same day these last two years.
RICHARDS: [prompting] Which..?
CHLOE: Which is strange because not that many people go missing this time of year?
RICHARDS: No. It’s strange because they are the same age and gender. Male. And, 19 years old.
CHLOE: Don’t a lot of kids of that age and gender go missing all the time?
RICHARDS: Not at the college, and not the first Sunday morning of February.
CHLOE: Okay? So, what’s your hunch?
RICHARDS: That it’s society related.
CHLOE: Ooh. We get to visit a fraternity?
RICHARDS: I do believe we should. Don’t you?
CLERK: There are four societies associated with the college. Any outside of the four are unaffiliated.
RICHARDS: I think the four should be fine, thank you.
CLERK: Alpha Sigma Phi is run by Dean Bennet. He’s in room 214. Phi Delta Theta. Dean Eugene runs that one. Room 228. There are two societies that aren’t technically associated with the University, but they are run by a couple deans. The Masks is Dean Bridges’. He’s in room 421. And the Guild of the Onyx Moon is run by Dean Masterson. Room 173, right down the hall.
RICHARDS: That wouldn’t happen to be Dean Wilbur Masterson?
CLERK: It is.
RICHARDS: Thank you very much for your help. If you happen to find out any more information regarding the disappearance of any of the students, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. My number’s on the card.
CLERK: Of course.
SFX: Walking down echoey hall
CHLOE: It’s such a strange feeling, living in a town for so long, and having no idea there’s such a big university right down the street.
RICHARDS: I know. The college doesn’t really affect the city. It’s totally self-sustaining. The kids don’t really have any reason to leave the grounds, except to visit their families back home.
CHLOE: Until the kids wind up getting killed.
RICHARDS: We don’t know that.
CHLOE: But isn’t that what we’re investigating?
RICHARDS: Yeah, but they could just be odd coincidences.
CHLOE: Where are we going now, though?
RICHARDS: Wilbur Masterson.
CHLOE: The dean?
CHLOE: You said his name like you knew who he was. Do you know him?
RICHARDS: We used to go to school here, together.
CHLOE: I didn’t know you went to school here.
RICHARDS: Probably because I never told you. His dad was the president of-
MASTERSON: [greeting] Garrett. Good to see you again.
RICHARDS: I see you’re a dean now.
MASTERSON: I am! Fancy meeting you here.
RICHARDS: We were actually coming to see you.
MASTERSON: No kidding? Well, my office is right here. Come in. I just got off lunch. Good timing. And, who is this lovely young lady?
CHLOE: I’m Chloe, Mr. Richard’s intern.
MASTERSON: [intrigued] Intern? You’re moving up in the world, “Mister Richards.” Take a seat, take a seat. [pause] So, what brings you to my neck of the woods?
SFX: Door closes
RICHARDS: The two dead boys.
MASTERSON: Two? I only knew of one? Are you investigating me? [surprise] Are you a detective???
RICHARDS: Private Detective.
MASTERSON: Oh. [snobbery apparent] So, not a real cop.
RICHARDS: I didn’t quite achieve your status, but I found my place in this world.
MASTERSON: I’m sorry to do this to you, old friend, but I am quite busy. If we could move this along. What about the boy?
RICHARDS: Two. Craig and Keith.
MASTERSON: You’re investigating Keith’s death too? I thought that was solved like 5 years ago.
RICHARDS: It was two years ago, and not exactly solved. His disappearance was solved when his dead body wound up on the riverbank. His death, however; is still a mystery. I’m investigating it now, since the it’s the week before the anniversary of both their disappearances.
MASTERSON: Craig’s disappearance, you mean.
CHLOE: They both disappeared at the same time both years. We’re investigating both.
MASTERSON: She does speak.
RICHARDS: She’s still an intern, learning the ropes.
MASTERSON: If you’re looking for a field requiring talent, might I suggest any other career field. Okay. So, what do the two kids’ disappearances have to do with me?
RICHARDS: If I did my research well enough, it appears they were both joining the Guild.
MASTERSON: [pause] I see. I wouldn’t know how you would come upon such information, but I assure you, Private Investigator Garrett Richards, that neither this Craig, nor Keith were initiates to the Guild of the Onyx Moon. Will that be all?
RICHARDS: Not quite. Did you know either of the students?
MASTERSON: I know so many students, I couldn’t possibly tell you, even if I wanted to.
RICHARDS: You couldn’t, or wouldn’t?
MASTERSON: Whichever fits your narrative better. If you’ll excuse me, detect- I mean, Private Investigator… Mrs. Chloe…
SFX: Door opens
MASTERSON: Ahh. If you ever wish to change careers, contact the school and let them know you’d like to intern with me. You can see yourselves out. Good afternoon.
CHLOE: Well, that was strange.
RICHARDS: You found that strange too?
CHLOE: I would swear I watched both of you having a pissing contest. He didn’t pass the vibe check.
RICHARDS: He wasn’t a very nice guy in school either.
CHLOE: I couldn’t even.
RICHARDS: Good thing he’s not a dean of mathematics.
CHLOE: I… don’t get it. Guild of the Moon.
RICHARDS: Guild of the Onyx Moon.
CHLOE: That’s a murder club if I ever heard one.
RICHARDS: Definitely cheugie.
CHLOE: Cheu- [disbelief, embarrassed] Nooooo. Mister Richards, please don’t.
RICHARDS: My daughter would say it’s cheugie.
CHLOE: Did she call you cheugie when you said something stupid?
CHLOE: She was calling you cheugie; not a murder club. What are we going to do about the club though?
RICHARDS: Their initiations line up with the disappearances.
CHLOE: How did you find that out?
RICHARDS: While we were in the dean’s office, I saw that he had blocked off next weekend for G.O.M., which I can only assume is the Guild of the Onyx Moon.
CHLOE: If they thought about it another second, it could be like “got’em.”
CHLOE: Like G.O.T.O.M.. Gottom.
RICHARDS: I guess. While we’re here, we should check with the other deans, just in case.
SCENE: Dean Eugene
EUGENE: I hate that man.
CHLOE: A common enemy! You two could just start making out right now.
RICHARDS: There really is no need for that, Chloe.
CHLOE: I’m telling you, mister Richards: I have a cousin who would love you.
RICHARDS: Not interested. My wife and daughter already love me. My apologies, Eugene. It appears we do have a similar disdain for Dean Masterson. He became very disinterested in our conversation as soon as we mentioned the two boys’ disappearances.
EUGENE: I would swear both of them were supposed to be initiated into the Guild, but they wound up dead instead. [amused at self] “Dead instead.” My god. I spend so much time in the works of Plath and Kipling, and I find myself speaking like them.
CHLOE: Really? Do you?
CHLOE: Don’t what? I assume Kipling and the other person-
EUGENE: Sylvia Plath.
CHLOE: Right. I assume they’re both poets or something. “Dead instead” is hardly poetry, and it’s not even interesting. I’m bored, just sitting in here. Who are those people in the pictures? Dead writers, I bet?
CHLOE: Yeah. Look at this guy. He looks dead in this picture.
EUGENE: That was my father. He passed away last month.
CHLOE: Oh. [realizing mistake, embarrassed] Ohhhh. I should go.
EUGENE: I’m kidding! That’s a portrait of Dickens. He died in 1870. You really should get out more often.
RICHARDS: [amused] You had her going.
EUGENE: I’ll tell you what. We should plan to stalk the Guild next weekend, and see if there’s something sketch going on. [to Chloe] Ah? Ah?
CHLOE: [facepalm] Please stop.
RICHARDS: Don’t you have an event with your sorority?
EUGENE: I don’t have a sorority, sir. I am the president of a fraternity. I’m sure we can… alter our plans a tad.
SCENE: At the Office
RICHARDS: This is the part in the movie where you tell me I can’t stalk the fraternity.
DIANE: The movies would be right. [pause] If this were the movies. You’re a private investigator, for Christ’s sake! If you’re not bordering the line of legal and illegal, we wouldn’t have a job.
RICHARDS: I think when the restraining order was initiated, the legal barrier was more than clear.
DIANE: Technically, the restraining order hasn’t been approved by the judge yet. We only got a warning from his lawyer.
RICHARDS: Oh! Then, why am I even here?
DIANE: I just wanted to let you know that it’s kind of crunch time, in case the restraining order does get approved. My guess is that it was merely a scare tactic, to get you off their scent. If anything, it seems more suspect that they’d demand you leave them alone.
RICHARDS: My thinking, precisely.
RICHARDS: Well… what?
DIANE: How’s the new intern?
RICHARDS: She’s fine. She reminds me of how old I am. Did you know she came to work on a skateboard the other day?
DIANE: It’s a longboard.
RICHARDS: I don’t know what that even means. Isn’t it just a long skateboard.
DIANE: Oh, bless your heart, Richards. Get back on to the dean. I want progress. Worst case scenario, you get put on the sidelines while Chloe does the rest of the investigation.
RICHARDS: Oh dear god.
DIANE: You know… You may consider her going undercover for some of the case.
RICHARDS: I actually had considered that. I think I have an in with another dean, who’d be willing to finagle things to our advantage.
DIANE: Word of advice, Garrett: don’t use “finagle” in a sentence, if you want to seem relevant in today’s society. I only say that, since you seem to try to sound cool with the kids.
SCENE: Stalking GOM
EUGENE: They’ll usually get their society together in their fancy Mercedes van, and then drive here. This club, by the way, is Dean Masterson’s country club that he’s a member of. They come here to this pool, and do part of their initiation ceremony there.
CHLOE: When do they get here?
EUGENE: In the next hour or so.
CHLOE: What? Why are we here so early?!
EUGENE: To make sure we didn’t get spotted. My car isn’t quite inconspicuous.
CHLOE: We could have come in my Prius.
RICHARDS: It’s a pretty “basic” car.
CHLOE: For the love of all that is holy- stop. You say one more thing like that, and I will quit. I swear. Also, my Prius just happens to be especially fuel efficient. [exhale]
RICHARDS: Hey! Not right here!
CHLOE: Now I can’t even vape?
RICHARDS: Not in my face. Go… go over there and do that.
SFX: Walking away in grass
RICHARDS: So, why do you know about the Guild’s initiation ceremony?
EUGENE: I was a prospective initiate.
RICHARDS: Let me guess: Ever since they denied you, you’ve stalked them?
EUGENE: You hit the nail on the head.
RICHARDS: What did you do with your fraternity?
EUGENE: I have them putting away the holiday decorations.
EUGENE: [agreeing] Hazing. Did you know Dean Masterson got the federal government to acknowledge the Guild of the Onyx Moon as a five oh one C three religion, just so the students could legally drink?
RICHARDS: [aghast] What?
EUGENE: It’s true. I heard it on the grapevine, did some sleuthing, and come to find out: it’s true.
RICHARDS: [impressed] I’ll give him this: he is thorough.
EUGENE: Extremely. To a fault, maybe. Oh, hey. Look. They’re setting up chairs beside the pool.
RICHARDS: What are those for?
EUGENE: Every year is different. I’m going to guess that because they’re putting the chairs so close to the pool, they might… push the students in..?
RICHARDS: Like some sort of baptismal process?
EUGENE: I didn’t think of it that way, but sure. Oh, they’re early.
RICHARDS: [whisper calling] Chloe! Get over here! Check this out.
SFX: Walking up in grass
CHLOE: What are we looking at?
RICHARDS: They set up chairs by the pool.
CHLOE: [mockingly] Wowwww. You brought me out here at 11 at night in freezing temperatures, so I could watch a pool.
RICHARDS: We think they’re going to push them in.
CHLOE: Oh. Now that I’d like to see.
RICHARDS: I thought so.
CHLOE: Oh. Oh my.
RICHARDS: What? What are you ‘oh my’ing about?
CHLOE: Look at them! They’re gorg. Like, they could all be out of a GQ magazine.
EUGENE: The Guild does pick from the wealthiest and most attractive students. Every member is on the rowing team too.
RICHARDS: I’m getting uncomfortable right now.
CHLOE: Are you starting to get special feelings about them too?
RICHARDS: Oh, god no. I’m uncomfortable in this conversation. I’d rather we focus on why only five students are on the chairs, with everyone else standing around them.
CHLOE: They’re the new members, duh. Somebody’s going to light a fire somewhere, and then do some elements speech or something, yeet them in the water, and we watch their soaking bodies get out of the pool.
EUGENE: Have you seen this before?
CHLOE: Don’t have to: They’re all so formulaic. Once you’ve seen one initiation ceremony, you’ve seen them all. Oh. There’s the fire.
RICHARDS: You called it.
CHLOE: Like I said: they’re all the same.
RICHARDS: I don’t know why we even bothered to come then.
CHLOE: I wanted to see them go swimming. Sometimes they’ll tie their hands and blindfold them. Okay. They don’t have to do everything exactly like I say it.
EUGENE: Just as you say it, it happens.
CHLOE: It’s my special talent. I’m like a witch or something.
SFX: Distant splashes
RICHARDS: [Shocked] That water’s what? 40 degrees?
EUGENE: If that. I think they sometimes empty out the restaurant’s ice freezer into the pool before these things go down, just to get the water even colder.
RICHARDS: Chloe! Did the autopsies for Craig and Kevin include drowning as the cause of deaths?
CHLOE: They were found on the riverbank, so I think it goes without saying.
RICHARDS: Guys, I think we found our cause of death.
EUGENE: No. They wouldn’t let that happen. As much as I hate the guy, Dean Masterson wouldn’t let that-
SFX: Walking up in grass
MASTERSON: Did I hear my name?
CHLOE and EUGENE: [gasps]
CHLOE: [out of breath] Don’t do that to me!
MASTERSON: Oh. You don’t care to be spied on? The Guild of the Onyx Moon doesn’t take kindly to being spied on either. There are so many of you.
CHLOE: There are only three of us.
MASTERSON: In that case, there aren’t so many of you, which would make you easy targets. Dean Eugene! What a… fun… surprise.
EUGENE: Yes. Fun.
MASTERSON: I thought my lawyer contacted your department, Garrett. Why are you spying on us, still?
RICHARDS: Yes. We got the message, but it appears the judge hasn’t quite yet ruled on the petition of a restraining order. And, if you know anything about private investigation agencies, it’s much more difficult to get that approved.
MASTERSON: Is it, now?
MASTERSON: We will have to see about that. Now, if you don’t mind, I have to contact the club immediately. I found some vagrants trespassing on their property.
EUGENE: [surprised] Here?
MASTERSON: Right here, to be more precise.
RICHARDS: You don’t have to do that, Masterson. We’re on our way out anyway.
MASTERSON: No no. I insist.
SCENE: Richards Removed from Case
DIANE: You did it. You are officially off the case.
DIANE: We both expected it. When someone of that caliber gets so cagey, so quickly… It’s always that guy.
RICHARDS: You said “officially.” Does that mean you want me to investigate, off the record?
DIANE: No. How many times do I have to tell you: This isn’t the movies. We have three other detectives on the team, and you have the intern on it. You’re not the only one who can do this. You’re off. I have another case you should work on. Let Chloe take this one from here. It sounds like this one’s pretty much all solved anyway. Actually…
SFX: Door opens
DIANE: [calling out the door] Chloe! Can you come in here for a minute?
CHLOE: Yes ma’am?
DIANE: Can you close the door when you get in here, please?
SFX: Door closes.
DIANE: Dean Masterson put a restraining order against Richards. I don’t know why their lawyer didn’t put a restraining order against the entire agency, but we’re not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.
CHLOE: A gift horse?
DIANE: … in the mouth.
CHLOE: [still unsure] Okay.
DIANE: You’re in charge of the Onyx Moon case. I need you to get the rest of the information to finish the case out.
CHLOE: Like what?
DIANE: Prove that the boys drowned in the pool, and that they were dumped in the river to hide their tracks.
CHLOE: I can’t begin to-
DIANE: You went to school for this, Chloe. Go do some investigating, gumshoe. You’ll do great. If you ever need a hand, we have some other PI’s available.
CHLOE: You don’t want them helping me right now?
DIANE: Do you think you need them?
CHLOE: No? I guess not. I just-
DIANE: Chloe… [reassuring] You’re fine. Just find someone who might know about their deaths, and go from there. It’s mostly done, anyway. Can you do that?
CHLOE: For sure.
DIANE: See? She’s got it handled. Remember: we’re always your resource, Chloe. If you need help, just let us- let me know.
SCENE: Meeting Tiffany
CHLOE: Excuse me. Do you know anyone from the Onyx Moon?
CHLOE: Hey! Hi. Um, do you know anybody who might be in the Onyx Moon?
CHLOE: O.M.G! I love your jeans. They’re so snatched.
CHLOE: You don’t happen to know people around here, do you?
TIFFANY: I’m the college’s tour guide: I pretty much know everybody. What’s your name, by the way.
CHLOE: Chloe. I’m new here.
TIFFANY: That’s so dope. I’m Tiffany. Who are you looking for?
CHLOE: Do you know the Guild of the Onyx Moon?
TIFFANY: You mean the Guild? Sure. I know about the Guild. What of it?
CHLOE: Oh. That’s fantastic. Two students from the Guild died these last couple years.
TIFFANY: Really? Oh. Yeah. That was before my time, but I don’t think they were members of the Guild.
CHLOE: Do they make themselves known? I mean, the members. Do they go around telling everyone?
TIFFANY: You’re new here, and you’re so curious.
CHLOE: I just joined the school newspaper. Our first assignment was to find something in the school history, and research that. So, you know about the guys getting killed?
TIFFANY: Tell you what, Chloe. It’s Chloe, right?
TIFFANY: I have a buddy you should meet. He was going to join the Guild a while back. Maybe he knows a thing or two.
TIFFANY: Carson. This is Chloe. She just joined the Student Gazette. She’s trying to learn about the Guild and the missing guys a couple years back.
CARSON: [minor stoner vibes] Right on. What do you want to know?
CHLOE: How they died.
TIFFANY: I have a tour in 10 minutes. You guys have fun. Later.
CARSON: Bye Tiff. 4:00 study group?
TIFFANY: Yep. See you at four.
CARSON: I was supposed to join the Guild a while back. I didn’t know they did hair follicle tests. So, I didn’t qualify.
CHLOE: You don’t say.
CARSON: But, I did get involved with them for a while. I had a theory on how they died, a long time now.
CARSON: Yeah yeah. They do the initiation ceremony, and dump them in a pool. The ceremony always happens on Saturday nights.
CHLOE: We were thinking the same thing. And then what?
CARSON: Then there’s a race the next day.
CHLOE: Today’s the next day!
CARSON: No cap?
CHLOE: What kind of race?
SCENE: River race
SFX: Crowd chatter, riverside
CARSON: The regatta’s always the Sunday after initiation. Are you cold? I brought my blanket.
CHLOE: No, I’m good.
CARSON: You sure?
CHLOE: Yeah. A blanket would be nice. [satisfied] Mmmm. That is nice. Thanks. All I need now is hot chocolate.
CARSON: I can get you one. They have some at the concession stand.
CHLOE: No. No thank you. I just need to figure out what goes on here. You know the bodies were both found a couple miles from here, on the river.
CARSON: I know. I found one of them. That Craig kid.
CHLOE: Oh no!
CARSON: Yeah. He was tangled up in a net. Had me upset a long time. I got straight A’s in class for the rest of the month.
CHLOE: That’s heavy. I didn’t hear anything about a net in the newspapers.
CARSON: I know. [gesturing to dock] Hey! Them. You see the team with the black shirts? That’s the Guild. I found out they train with a bag of bricks or weights under their boat. When they’re at the regatta, they don’t have the bricks weighing down the eights- that’s the name of the boat. That way, they can row faster when there’s no bag.
CHLOE: What kind of bag?
CARSON: I don’t know.
CHLOE: Do you think it was probably like a net?
CHLOE: Carson! It was lovely to meet you. I have to go.
CARSON: Aww, so early? The race hasn’t even started. Can’t we just hang? I promise not to even hit on you anymore.
CHLOE: I know. Tell you what: give me your digits, and I’ll shoot you a text. We can chill later.
SCENE: Chloe Checks in
CHLOE: I figured it out!
DIANE: I’m listening.
CHLOE: The Guild is on a rowing team. They train with a net of bricks to weigh them down, so when there’s a real race, they can go faster. I think in the regatta, their boat is weighed down with a net with the dead guy. They get to the end, they drop the bag, and the body keeps traveling. No one ever suspects a thing, and the team wins because there’s no body making them so heavy anymore.
DIANE: Why wouldn’t they just dump the bodies in the river before the race?
CHLOE: I was wondering the same thing. The initiation takes what, two hours or something… the race starts at 10 in the morning. There’s only like eight hours to dispose of the body.
DIANE: The math is checking out. But, that leaves eight entire hours to dispose of the body. And, there are only nine people on a sculling crew.
CHLOE: On a what?
DIANE: It’s the boat crew. The rowing is called sculling.
CHLOE: Creepy. Anyway…
DIANE: So, they go out of their way to hide a body under their boat, and then they get rid of it during a very public event.
CHLOE: It doesn’t make sense, but it works.
DIANE: Tell you what, Chloe… it sounds interesting, and worth pursuing. Especially since nobody ever mentioned the net detail. It looks like there may be a coverup. Which, piques my interest. Where are you off to next?
CHLOE: If there’s a coverup, I would sayyyyy… police?
DIANE: Very good reasoning.
SCENE: Chloe’s Research
CHLOE: The first kid, Keith Lucas was killed two years back. His dad is Deputy Chief Lucas of the police department. I did some more research, and found out that Deputy Chief Lucas is buddy buddy with Dean Masterson.
RICHARDS: He investigated his own kid’s death?
CHLOE: It looks that way. Nobody ever said that anywhere in the news either.
RICHARDS: Why would he cover up his own son’s death?
CHLOE: Masterson is rich, right?
CHLOE: It’s super sus, but I think Masterson told him what happened, offered him money, and the only way Deputy Lucas-
RICHARDS: Deputy Chief
CHLOE: Deputy Chief Lucas could investigate it is if it was in his jurisdiction, which was only a mile down the river.
RICHARDS: [freaking excited] Chloe! Chloe Chloe Chloe! I think you did it! The bodies had to be in his jurisdiction, and he could accept the payouts from Masterson! You’re amazing, I could hug you!
CHLOE: Please don’t.
SFX: Phone dialing
RICHARDS: [on phone] Diane. We need a judge to approve a warrant.
NEWS: Deputy Chief Matthew Lucas has been indicted for concealing the wrongful death of his son Keith Lucas, 19 in 2017, and Craig McKenzie, also 19 in 2018. Police are saying he is cooperating with them, giving evidence to lighten his sentence. Police say the Deputy Chief colluded with the college’s dean, Dean Wilbur Masterson who has been charged with the manslaughters of two students, and the cover-ups of both Craig and Keith. We are still awaiting the court’s decision on those charges. We are expecting to hear more about the secret society, Guild of the Onyx Moon. There were others involved in the cover-ups, but to what extent, we are still uncertain. You’re watching KSXP 2.
RICHARDS: To Chloe! The best Private Investigating Intern, ever!
DIANE: Here here!
CHLOE: Thanks, guys! I had my moments. Thanks to you guys, I can finally say I’ve been a part of something that rewrote history. Literally.
RICHARDS: It hits different, doesn’t it?
CHLOE: [rolling eyes] Oh, Garrett
DIANE: “Garrett,” huh? We’re on a first name basis already?
RICHARDS: Stop being so pressed, Diane.
CHLOE: I told you forever ago to quit it with Gen Z lingo!
RICHARDS: Look at the drip on that guy.
CHLOE: Quit being so old! Stop dragging me.
RICHARDS: Or what? You’ll catch these hands? This is how I normally talk.
DIANE: I don’t think either of you are speaking English right now.
[Conversation fades out]