Second Fiddles

Episode 17 – Retcon

June 30, 2022 Second Fiddles Season 2 Episode 4
Second Fiddles
Episode 17 – Retcon
Show Notes Transcript

Tammy interviews Retcon, a sidekick no one seems to remember.

17 - Retcon

MACGUFFIN
Previously, on Second Fiddles: Replacing the disgraced hero known as Slap, Pitch is now a card-carrying member of Rose City’s B-league. And that’s not figurative–she literally has a card. After years of sidekicking, Tammy is finally holding auditions for her very own sidekick.  There was also some stuff about me and my family, but I’m a little mad at Linus right now, so we’re going to let that plot marinate until the next episode.  Let’s begin!

MAX
Episode 17, Retcon.

RETCON
Hello? I’m your 3 o’clock appointment.

TAMMY
I like to only schedule one a day, because sidekicks are exhausting.

RETCON
That would explain why the waiting room was empty.

TAMMY
Indeed!

RETCON
Call me Retcon.

TAMMY
Hey Retcon. Sooo, I’m Pitch. Take a seat, get comfy, and let’s have a chat. This is less of a proper audition, and more of a conversation. Sound good to you?

RETCON
Yeah. Yes. That’s fine.

TAMMY
I was going to force you to sit on an uncomfortable chair or stool or something, and see how long you could deal with it, like the heroes used to do to me, but I appreciate lower back health more than testing your patience.

RETCON
Thanks, I guess.  You’re not like the other heroes I’ve worked with, are you?

TAMMY
Hell, I hope not. Who were they, these other heroes?

RETCON
Did you read my CV?

TAMMY
I skimmed it. I just want to hear it from you. Start from the beginning.

RETCON
Well, neither of my parents are powered, so when I was born, they did not think to–

TAMMY
No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Not that beginning. Start with sidekicking experience, please.

RETCON
Ah. Okay.  My powers don’t lend themselves well to heroics, but they’re really effective at… benefiting the public perception of heroes. I moved to Rose City after college, where I majored in Public Relations. I’ve had a fairly clear trajectory in mind since I was in high school, and the day I got here, I booked a gig with the A-league.

TAMMY
Before you get into that, could you explain exactly how your powers work?

RETCON
Sure. I can manipulate memories. What do you want to know?

TAMMY
So, you’re kind of like the flashy thing in the Men in Black movies, right? You can make people forget stuff?

RETCON
It’s way more than that. The neuralyzer – the flashy thing – just erases memories. I can change them. It can be as minor as making someone misremember a song lyric, or as extensive as, say, having someone forget that I exist.

TAMMY
That would be why you didn’t list any references, I assume?

RETCON
After I’ve sidekicked for someone, I erase their memories of me. I’ve worked with the A-league for years, but no one remembers who I am. I always tell them ahead of time, it’s part of my contract. It’s safer that way. I know everyone’s secrets, but they don’t know that I do.

TAMMY
Then why would you tell me about it?

RETCON
By the time I leave, you won’t remember most of this conversation.

TAMMY
Hmm. You’re very honest. I like that.

RETCON
What’s the point of lying when telling the truth ultimately has zero consequences?

TAMMY
What prevents me from listening back to my recording of this later? You certainly have been caught on camera before?

RETCON
I actually came in once before this and turned your camera off before rebooting this conversation.

TAMMY
What?  Ah, so you did. I didn’t even notice the little red light wasn’t on anymore.

RETCON
You actually did notice the first time, but I made you forget that you should be checking it.

TAMMY
You’re a real mind-BLEEP, aren’t you?

RETCON
You said that the first time, too. You’d be surprised how often I hear people continually repeating themselves.

TAMMY
So, you’re able to curate your own life experiences, then, aren’t you? I mean, to an extent.

RETCON
You could say that.

TAMMY
Do your powers wear off?

RETCON
Not that I’ve ever seen. I made my dad think the dog knocked over a vase that I broke when I was a kid, and I bring it up once a year to see who he thinks did it.

TAMMY
Are you close with your parents?

RETCON
Not exactly. We talk all the time, but they prefer not to be around me. I obviously don’t want them to forget about me, but they don’t want to lose little memories here and there, so they try to keep their distance.

TAMMY
Have you tried maybe not using your power on them?

RETCON
You’re judging. That’s fine.  I haven’t changed their memories in years. When I was a teenager, though, and my powers were first developing, I kind of abused them. I abused my powers, I mean, not my parents.

TAMMY
I would’ve done the same thing, probably.  So, your powers work in proximity? You don’t have to, like, touch anyone?

RETCON
If they’re within a certain range, yeah. No touch needed.

TAMMY
Can you only do one person at a time?

RETCON
It depends. Everyone remembers things differently, so my powers work best if I can tap into each person’s memories individually. If two hundred bystanders were to witness a hero poop their costume during a fight with a villain, for example, I could make the entire group forget it at once, but the memory I put in to replace the pooping would be identical for all two hundred people. And yes, that’s not a hypothetical situation. It definitely happened.

TAMMY
Let me guess: Was it Amalgamation Man?

RETCON
How did you know?

TAMMY
I got stuck in an elevator with him one time. He smelled so bad, I thought he sharted himself. His costume looks like it takes forever to put on and off, so it makes sense.

RETCON
Yeah. I don’t miss working with him. I wish I could wipe my own memory of those… smells.

TAMMY
Hey, have you ever heard the expression “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission?”

RETCON
Yeah. Why? Is that a mantra of yours?

TAMMY
Kind of. It’s weird to think of never having to ask for forgiveness or permission, because you can take a risk or make a mistake and then erase it from existence.

RETCON
Not exactly.  If I get in a car accident, I can make someone forget who caused the accident, but it doesn’t fix the car. It’s not time travel. It feels like it, sometimes, but if I get punched in the face, I can’t retcon my black eye away.

TAMMY
Can you return someone’s memories back to normal? Fix what you’ve changed?

RETCON
Yeah. I mean, I think so. They won’t be as detailed, probably, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

TAMMY
You’ve never tried to restore memories before? Like, you never regretted changing something and tried to change it back?

RETCON
Nope. That’s literally never crossed my mind.

TAMMY
Wow.  Have you ever taken an improv class?

RETCON
What? No. Why?

TAMMY
They’re ridiculous, but they have a rule: “yes, and.” If someone comes up with an idea, you can’t negate it. So, if we were doing improv right now, and you asked me how my pregnancy was going, I wouldn’t say “I’m not pregnant,” I’d say something like “I’m having octuplets!”  Get what I’m saying?

RETCON
You’re saying that I use my powers like I’m doing improv?

TAMMY
That’s what it sounds like. You keep “yes, and-ing” people’s memories.

RETCON
Hm.  You’re not wrong.

TAMMY
I can see why you’d be an asset. If I’m fighting a villain or some henchies and a civilian gets caught in the crossfire, and, let’s say, I blow out their eardrums, you could make them forget that I did it?

RETCON
Ding ding ding! She gets it!

TAMMY
I feel like that’s a slippery slope. What about accountability?

RETCON
What’s that? Just kidding. I mean, I was good enough for the A-league, why shouldn’t someone from the B-league want me too?

TAMMY
You’re going to erase most of this, like you said, so could you give me some examples? I think it’s only right that I ask about your work history. Other than Amalgamation Man and his poopy armored pants, of course.

RETCON
I worked with most of the members of the A-league, but I spent most of my early sidekicking days with Smasher.

TAMMY
Huh. You must’ve been his sidekick before Recall, I’m guessing. Ironic that he’s had two sidekicks with memory-based powers... Why were you paired with him?

RETCON
Here’s one of those secrets I’m going to have to take back from you later. Smasher isn’t always a big strong beasty thing. He’s a scientist, and he transforms into Smasher when he needs the strength.

TAMMY
Is it like a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde thing?

RETCON
No, it’s not a split personality or anything. He’s always himself, but his power is actually the ability to trade brainpower for brawn. The higher his intelligence, the weaker his body, and vice versa, so the stronger he becomes as Smasher, the more primitive his brain becomes.

TAMMY
Huh. That makes a lot of sense. Why doesn’t he just transform part of the way, so he’s only a little dumber, but faster and stronger?

RETCON
He can, but I think he saves that mostly for the bedroom.

TAMMY
Gross. Okay, actually, not gross. That’s kind of hot.

RETCON
When he does that, he still pretty much looks like himself, and his true identity would be revealed. He transforms as much as he can without hindering basic cognition. He can get even bigger, but he could lose the ability to speak or comprehend what’s going on around him.

TAMMY
How did you fit into that equation? Why did you work with him?

RETCON
If Smasher were to transform in public, people would see it, and they’d learn his identity. Also, they’d see his penis. He busts right out of his clothes and has to change into something bigger. He normally has a bag with him with his costume in it. So, when something happens and he needs to transform, it takes him some time to find a place where he can change and no one can see him. With me by his side, he could change anywhere and I would just make everyone forget that they saw his face. Or his penis. It gets enormous. I honestly wish I could make myself forget, but it’s burned into my brain.

TAMMY
I’m going to have an interesting conversation with Sophia next time I see her.

RETCON
You won’t. Remember? You won’t remember.

TAMMY
Oh, crap. Right. That sucks.

RETCON
You called her Sophia… How do you know Recall’s identity?

TAMMY
Oops. I wish I had your powers, so I could make you forget I just said that. Sophia’s a friend.

RETCON
How is she… how is she doing?

TAMMY
Wondering if your replacement is doing a better job sidekicking than you?

RETCON
No, I’m an amazing sidekick. The woman that you call Sophia is Smasher’s daughter, and I spent a lot of time with her before she became Recall. Why aren’t you reacting? You should be shocked.

TAMMY
Oh, yeah, no, I already knew all that. Sophia knows too. She’s on her way to find her dad as we speak.

RETCON
BLEEP. BLEEP. BLEEP. Seriously?

TAMMY
Why, is that a problem?  Geez, all the color’s draining from your face. Are you gonna barf?

RETCON
How much does she know?

TAMMY
Not much, that’s why she’s going to find him, to confront him.  Why are you so worried? Are you–  Oh. My. God. Are you the reason Sophia lost her memories? Answer me!

RETCON
Yes! Yes, it was me. Calm down.

TAMMY
Tell me everything. Now.

RETCON
I’m not gonna let you remember any of it, so what’s the point?

TAMMY
Please, I care about her. Just tell me.

RETCON
Fine.  So, umm, Sophia actually has more than one power. In addition to her memory, she can do something else.

TAMMY
Yes. I am aware. Get to the new information, please.

RETCON
What do you mean, you’re aware? Did she remember her past?

TAMMY
No, she turned into, well, Smasher. But with long hair and boobs. A lady Smasher.

RETCON
When was this?

TAMMY
Recently. It only happened the one time.

RETCON
What happened?

TAMMY
She hit her head, hard, and then she got angry. That’s pretty much it. She damaged a thing in her head.

RETCON
Her neural inhibitor. We put that in to prevent her from transforming, after...

TAMMY
After what? What happened?

RETCON
Sophia transformed for the first time while she was in an argument with her sister, and they–

TAMMY
Oh my god. Are you her sister?

RETCON?
What? No! Why would you think that?

TAMMY
You both have memory powers, you both sidekicked for the same guy, and you’re concerned for her wellbeing…

RETCON
Okay, well, when you put it that way, it’s still a no. We’re not related. Just listen to the rest of the story, okay?  Okay. So, they were arguing while Sophia was driving them in a car, and when she transformed, she hurt her sister.

TAMMY
Okay, I don’t buy it. One of my other friends caused a fatal car accident when her powers manifested, so the chances of them both having that in common are crazy bananas.

RETCON
That’s a weird coincidence, but I assure you, that’s all it is. Besides, Sophia didn’t kill her or disfigure her or anything, but her sister did leave town afterward. Sophia hated it that she’d inherited her father’s powers, so she convinced him to implant the neural inhibitor to prevent any more accidents. It was only meant to be temporary.

TAMMY
So why wasn’t it?

RETCON
Sophia felt so guilty, she asked me to erase her memory of transforming, so I did. I was trying to be nice, to be a good friend, but I’d never tried manipulating her memories before. It never occurred to me that her memory powers would react badly with mine, so I was shocked when a simple memory erasure started snowballing. I fought as hard as I could to hold onto them, but her memories pretty much turned into sand. They started slipping through my fingers and before I knew it, I wiped everything from before the transformation.

TAMMY
Ouch. Not a great mistake to make.

RETCON
No. Smasher fired me, but I made him forget what happened. He remembers the transformation and the accident with his daughters, but I made him think that the neural inhibitor is what erased her memories. He felt responsible, so he let her pick the name Sophia, pretended he was just a scientist, and then brought her on as his sidekick to keep a close eye on her.

TAMMY
Wow. You completely suck.

RETON
Excuse me?

TAMMY
You shouldn’t have changed his memories.

RETCON
I know, I know. I regret that. It was almost instinctual. I was so guilty, and so upset, I wasn’t thinking rationally.

TAMMY
Wait, did you say “pick the name Sophia?” What’s her real name?

RETCON
Does it matter? You won’t remember anyway.

TAMMY
You’re only going to change my memories from this conversation, right? You can’t erase my memory that Sophia is Smasher’s daughter, because I’m not the only one who knows, and she knows, and if I forget something like that, it would be really suspicious.

RETCON
Don’t worry. I’m not cruel or evil or anything. I’m fairly objective when it comes to using my powers. If I wanted to ruin lives, I’d become a villain. I’d be an awesome supervillain, wouldn’t I? But I don’t have the heart for that. Honestly, I think about Recall every day.

TAMMY
Why don’t you return her memories, then?

RETCON
I don’t know if that would even work. Trying it for the first time resulted in complete memory loss, so attempting to reverse it could make it even worse. I could wipe out more important stuff, like from her language center. I don’t think she’d want to have to relearn how to understand English, or how to go to the bathroom. I managed to save that stuff the first time around, but I don’t want to take that chance a second time.

TAMMY
Well, you saved most of it. She forgot how to use contractions, and she kind of talks like a robot. Or maybe a Vulcan. Since she hit her head, though, that’s been changing a little.

RETCON
Really? That’s good news.

TAMMY
Does that mean her memories could come back on their own?

RETCON
I have no idea. Maybe.

TAMMY
Huh. I thought this was going to be a quick and easy audition, but now I don’t know what to think.

RETCON
If you want, I can make you think it was quick and easy, but I’ll probably just make you think I didn’t show up at all.

TAMMY
Your life must be so weird.

RETCON
You have no idea. So, about Sophia… Is she– is she happy? Is she struggling? I think about her every single day.

TAMMY
She’s happy enough. She has a new cat that she loves, and friends, and she already viewed Smasher as a father figure anyway, so she’s more curious than anything else. She’s hurt that he lied to her, obviously, but she’s so eager to make that connection, I think they’ll be able to rebuild their relationship. It won’t be the same, but they have time. If he isn’t already dead, that is. That’s fairly unclear.

RETCON
Dead? What happened to him?

TAMMY
I don’t know. He went to another galaxy, now he’s MIA. Yada yada yada, Sophia went to find him. You know, a typical Thursday.

RETCON
Wow.  So. I think I should go now.

TAMMY
Wait. While I have you here, I need to ask you something.

RETCON
Your trauma makes you who you are, Pitch, I’m not erasing it.

TAMMY
How did you know I was going to…

RETCON
Traumatic things shape who you are. You grow and evolve based on your past experiences. There are some things that– Have you seen the movie Inside Out?

TAMMY
The kids movie, with the colorful little brain people?

RETCON
Yes, that’s the one.

TAMMY
I was in the room when my brother watched it, but I was only half paying attention.

RETCON
Well, they talk about core memories, and trauma’s normally grouped into that. If I were to take away your worst memory, whatever that may be, it would take away something that shaped who you are today. Your identity would start to fracture, and your personality could change. You would lose all sense of self.

TAMMY
Maybe that’s what I want. I don’t know who I am. I’m supposed to be finding a sidekick, but–

RETCON
You don’t think you deserve to be a hero?

TAMMY
Okay, so, like, you should really be a therapist or something.

RETCON
Hey, who knows? If this superhero stuff doesn’t work out, maybe I could go back to school. Stranger things have happened.

TAMMY
Hey, Retcon?

RETCON
Yeah?

TAMMY
You’re a mess, and I would never want you as my sidekick.

RETCON
I don’t disagree with you.

TAMMY
Could you make me forget how sea urchin tastes? My boyfriend made me try it last week, and I threw up in my mouth. The bile actually tasted better than the urchin.

RETCON
I could, but then you might try it again without the hindsight. Is sea urchin gross?

TAMMY
Yeah, it has the consistency of slimy peanut butter, but tastes really fishy. And to make it worse, I once fought a really nasty henchie named C. Urchin last year, so that name just has bad connotations for me.

RETCON
I’ve met that henchman before. I thought he’d be covered in spines or something, but he’s just a street urchin who can only say words that begin with the letter C. He kept telling me to chill over and over again.

TAMMY
Really? He just kept calling me a BLEEP.

RETCON
I like you, Pitch.

TAMMY
 I– I wish I was going to remember this conversation.

RETCON
Me too.

TAMMY
Is this going to hurt?

RETCON
No. But even if it did, you wouldn’t know.

TAMMY
You are so confusing.

RETCON
I know.  Okay. Are you ready?

TAMMY
Wait, I have one more question.

RETCON
What?

TAMMY
Part of your story didn’t line up. If Sophia’s sister left town, did you follow her and change her memory, too? I mean, what happens when she comes back and her memories are different from the rest of the family?

RETCON
Ah-ha. I may have lied about that.

TAMMY
Even knowing that you were going to erase my memory, you still didn’t tell the truth? What’s wrong with you?

RETCON
Fine. I’m her sister. Happy now?

TAMMY
Not really!

RETCON
After I accidentally caused her amnesia, I felt so guilty I did something a little extreme.  My dad currently thinks I’m working across the country at a PR firm, and I haven’t returned any of his phone calls. He thinks we all got in a huge fight and I moved away. He doesn’t think I’ll ever come back. But the truth is, I never left.

TAMMY
That is messed up. So you had no idea he was in another galaxy?

RETCON
Not a clue.

TAMMY
Well, hopefully he and Sophia will come back safely, and you can make amends. If you’re not lying, and it really was an accident, you should have nothing to worry about.  You weren’t lying, were you?

RETCON
I was lying less than the last time I lied to you.

TAMMY
Damn it! Okay, you’re ticking me off. Just wipe my memory, okay?

RETCON
Gladly.  And Pitch?

TAMMY
What?

RETCON
Thank you for being Sophia’s friend. I’m glad she connected with people.

TAMMY
She’d probably prefer to connect with her actual sister.

RETCON
I know.

TAMMY
Eww, I just realized, when you were sidekicking for Smasher, you were forced to see your dad’s giant schlong over and over again.

RETCON
Why do you think I said it was burned into my memory?  Okay, I’m over this conversation. You’ll be forgetting everything in 5… 4…

TAMMY
Son of a BLEEP!

RETCON

3… 2…

FADE IN MUSIC

MAT
In this episode of Second Fiddles, you just heard Liz Thompson as Tammy, Mia Cannale as Retcon, and John Pupo as MacGuffin. All of the sound design and writing was done by Mat Johnson, and the new theme song was composed by Pete Johnson, no relation. Thanks for listening, and I hope you don’t forget about this episode. That was a terrible joke. Goodbye.