Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Listed: Scenes From A Secluded Marshall-Shadeland Diner, Beneath The Underpass

City of Pittsburgh surveillance transcript, April 24, 2010, 9:44 a.m. NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION outside Office Of The Mayor (except friends with benefits).

Bill Peduto, Patrick Dowd (simultaneously): What're you doing here?
Peduto: Joe Sestak is supposed to be here. Message said Don's Diner, Eckert Avenue, 10 a.m.
Dowd: I was told grand opening of a new Tazza d'Oro. But this doesn't look like a . . .
Kevin Acklin: Hey, guys! So this is where we have Democratic strategy meetings, huh? Cool! You know, the Republicans always meet at the Duquesne Club. Macaroons, clean tables. Maybe we could think about . . .
Peduto: This isn't what you think it is, Kevin.
Patrick Ford: Good morning, gentlemen!
Dowd: Pat . . . Pat Ford? Is that you?
Peduto: Yeah, Pat, didn't recognize you with that . . . is that hair?
Ford (rubs head): Oh, this? Just a head start on the witness protection program. You know, funny story, I could overhear from the next room when the agents were talking about "plugging" me, and I actually started to think maybe there was something to all that talk you'd hear about how the guys running the city and county were connected . . . Speaking of which, sure glad to see you guys. I was getting worried here for a second. I mean, this dump, under the underpasses, middle of nowhere . . . you guys know this is Ravenstahl turf, right?
Acklin: The Adam sign on the door was a clue.
Ford: Anyway, Patrick, kind of ironic to see you in the witness protection program.
Dowd: What? Me? No, no. No protection program. We've all been . . .
Rich Lord: Holy Golden Quills! You all ready to go off the record with me? I shoulda brought more pads.
Peduto: It's not what you think, Rich.
Bram Reichbaum: Hey, everybody!
Lord: What's he doing here? I only do exclusives.
Reichbaum: Relax, Rich, I'm retired. Just here to pick up my Bloggy award and . . . my God, is that . . . is that Pat Ford?
Peduto: There is no award, Bram. We have all been lured here for some reason. And, yeah, that's Pat. (winces) Hair plugs.
Ford: They're not finished.
Dowd: OK, the hell with plugs already! What is going on here?
Michael Lamb (turning in doorway): Whoa. I must have the wrong . . .
Peduto: No, Michael, I think you're at the right place. Don's Diner, underpass on Eckert, 10 a.m.
Lamb: Yeah, but I was told . . .
Peduto: We were all told something, Michael, something that would get us here. We just don't know why.
Reichbaum: Well, if you want to know what I think . . .
Tom Murphy: Sorry I'm late, guys! Wow, small room. OK, where should I set up?
Dowd: Huh?
Murphy: For my presentation, "Urban Renewal: Memoirs of the Master."
Lord: OK, now this is getting freakazoidal.
Reichbaum: If I didn't know better, I'd say we're . . .
Virginia Montanez, to Jane Orie: Told ya! Told ya!
Acklin: Told her what?
Montanez: I told her, well, I was sitting in my car out there, like, watching who was coming in here, for like a half-hour. No way I was coming in here with this crew, for all I know Big Ben would be in the bathroom with his bajingo-banger all dangling and stuff. But then I saw another gal pull up, so I was telling her who was already in here. She didn't believe me.
Orie: Yes, I must say I find it somewhat difficult to believe that all of you are here to spill the beans on those no good, double-dealing, side-winding . . .
Montanez (whisper): Shorter version, guys: the Zappalas.
Orie: . . . back-stabbling, yellow-bellied, scum-sucking . . .
Reichbaum: That's what I been trying to tell you, guys. Why we're here. I think it's the . . .
Orie (shrieking): Zappalas!!!
Reichbaum: She's right. Scary -- in a kinda-hot, you-just-know-she's-a-superfreak way -- but Jane is absolutely right. It's the Zappalas.
Orie: It's always the Zappalas!
Dowd: I think I'm starting to understand.
Peduto: Better late than never.
Montanez: So . . . this isn't the Zima customer appreciation party, hosted by Daniel Sepulveda?
Peduto: Pat, you were on the inside. This what we think it is?
Ford: Yeah, it was obvious at least 10 minutes ago.
Peduto: Why didn't you say something?
Ford: Well, the FBI guys have been pretty clear, I'm really not supposed to say much of anything until the new U.S. attorney . . .
Acklin (agitated): What the heck is going on?
Dowd: It's The List, Kevin.
Acklin: The what?
Peduto: The List.
Lamb: The what?
Ford: The List-Makers' List. You know, the List-Makers. The Zappalas. Verbanac, Lieberman, Grattan. Luke, Dan. The List. We're all on it. Don't you guys read Infinonymous?
All: No! Of course not! . . . (mumbling) well . . . maybe one time by accident . . . not really . . . maybe sometimes . . . not from my government computer . . . OK, couple o' times a day. Happy now?
Dowd (checking sheet from pocket): We are all on The List, every damn one of us.
Peduto (pointing to Lamb): It's his fault.
Lamb: What?
Peduto: If you hadn't started that crap with Verbanac and the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission -- which, for your information, I was already all over, thank you very much, plus in the scheme of things it was peanuts -- anyway, if you hadn't started mouthing off about Verbanac's vig, Charlie Zappala wouldn't have botched that e-mail, and The List wouldn't have gone public.
Ford: You mean, you guys didn't know about The List? You gotta be kidding. How the hell'd you think we made decisions?
Lamb: My fault? You're crazy, you socialist egghead. (Pointing to Orie) She's the one who got them all riled up, accusing Greg and the old man -- in public, for Chrissakes, by name -- holding hearings, threatening investigations . . .
Orie: Me? You don't know squat, beancounter. The Zappalas chew through an entire Orie family quicker than you can put a 14-year-old in a cell and collect 300 bucks. (Pointing to Lord) It's Mr. Special Assignment here has them rattled.
Lord: You guys know about the special assignment?
Dowd: Oh, please, Rich. You were taken off your regular beat the day Luke lost it all the way down to his skivvies at that press conference. Your editors told you to get to the bottom of who was pulling strings, who's skimming, where the bodies are buried, everything. Told you to take as much time as you need.
Lord: How the hell do you know that?
Dowd: You think the editorial board doesn't tell those guys everything the city desk is up to? Hell, Verbanac and Onorato knew what was happening before Smydo did.
Lord: No, Patrick, I mean, how do you know?
Dowd (sheepishly): Oh, well, I guess there was a little while there, leading up to the council president election, when the mayor and I may have, uh . . .
Montanez: Ewwww. I forgot about that.
Peduto: I haven't.
Acklin: So, Pat . . . why'd they bring us here?
Peduto: Yeah, you don't think they're gonna . . .
Dowd: Maybe I could talk with them, work out a deal.
Peduto: I mean, really, Pat, you don't think they would actually . . .
Ford: Kill us? No way. Not today, anyway.
Murphy: Why not?
Ford: Much as they hate us, they need to know what people know. They whack us now, maybe they don't find out who knows what about The List. That's a risk they can't take . . . (looks at Orie) much as they might enjoy taking some people out behind a casino somewhere with a handful of plastic cuffs, a gavel and an acetylene torch.
Acklin: Wow, I had no idea what I was getting into here. With Republicans, it's just petty, personal crap, you know, like silly catfights between the Orie sisters and Missy . . .
Orie: That bitch!!!
Acklin: . . . Hart.
Lamb: If they aren't gonna make a move, why are we here?
Ford: It's a message, friend. A warning.
Dowd: What should we do?
Peduto: I don't think we do anything . . . yet.
Ford: Bill's right.
Dowd: I strongly doubt that.
Ford: No, he is right. We wait. There's strength in numbers, and I have a hunch our little group will get bigger, resuming on Monday. I say we bide our time. Plus, maybe my FBI handlers will suggest something.
Murphy: I really don't think I have much to worry about. I'm no threat to anyone anymore.
Montanez: Me either. I'm just Pitt Girl. It's all in fun. Pigeon poopy stuff.
Ford: Nope. You made The List. Don't kid yourselves. This is business now.
Lord: I gotta tell my editors.
Ford: You will tell them nothing! You hear me? That editorial board of yours is a direct conduit to The List-Makers. All we have now is each other, pal. You better get that straight.
Montanez: You think any cute guys will be on the rest of this List thingy? What about David Conrad?
Ford: Let's focus. Reichbloom, you've irritated most of us one time or another. You can start to make amends by handling communications. We'll want to meet again in a week or two, after more names have been . . . what's that word?
Dowd: Enrolled?
Ford: Yeah, professor, enrolled.
Dowd: Or perhaps inscribed . . .
Ford: English class dismissed, Einstein. Now, when it's time to meet, Reichbloom will notify everyone.
Acklin: But how will we know it isn't . . . them?
Peduto: We need a code, a password.
Ford: Good idea. I know: "Catholic School."
Dowd: North Catholic or Central Catholic?
Ford: It's both, so just go with "Catholic School." That's how you'll know it's legit. Got that, Comet boy?
Reichbaum: I, I guess so. I'm just a blogger . . .
Montanez: Boy, I hope Troysious is on this List. He'd save us.
Orie: Let's just get out of here.
Men (holding door, scanning street): Ladies first!

End of transcript. NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION outside Office Of The Mayor (except friends with benefits).


Bram Reichbaum said...

I'm dying to figure out what could have gotten Michael Lamb to cross two rivers on a Saturday morning.

And why does Alecia get to sleep in??

Infinonymous said...

Pipe down, Reichbloom.

Anonymous said...

this is hilarious

you got one titanium set infi

Anonymous said...


Joe Smydo said...

Was it really necessary to drag me into this?

It is true, though, Onorato called to congratulate me on my new beat before I found out from my editor.

Infinonymous said...

Chuckle-worthy, but let's not use Joe Smydo's name unless your name is Joe Smydo.

impressed said...

how did u get jane orie to sit for those fotos?

Infinonymous said...

Neither Infinonysources nor Infinonymethods are revealed.

Rich Lord said...

I would never say "freakazoidal."

InsideAgitator said...

"Even though we ain'tgot money I'mso in love with you honey"

that and a slew of chicago tunes-lotsa horns - to you mr. info.
Rock On.