SOUND OF CREAKS
ZACK (grunting) Okay, I've got this corner, Dad. JOSEPH (grunting) Good Lord this thing is heavy. How did you ever get this in here, Miranda? MIRANDA It was assembled here in the studio.. I.. I.. ZACK (with exertion) Don't talk now, Miranda. We'll have you out of there in another minute or two. Alright Dad? Ready? JOSEPH (with exertion) I think I've got a hold of it now. ZACK Okay. One. Two. (grunting) Three! SOUND OF CREAKS (having trouble talking, holding the shelf) Miranda, is that high enough? Can you move? Can you slide out? MIRANDA I'm trying.. I can't quite seem to get my foot free Zack.. I'm sorry.. I know it's too heavy for you..
Season 3, Episode 22
Earthquakes generally last only a few seconds. But the damage they cause can take months or even years to repair. Far more urgent are the life-threatening situations in which people can suddenly find themselves.
In this episode we’re still dealing with the sizable temblor that hit Milford-Haven. At the unfinished Clarke house—which seemed to survive the shaker without damage—a worker is now missing. Despite checking all over town for where else he might be, no one can find him. To make matters worse, his work glove is found at the site. So, reluctantly, construction boss Jack Sawyer has no choice but to order his workers to start digging under the decking and near the support structures. Since there are still aftershocks, this puts not only the workers at risk, but perhaps the house itself. Jack Sawyer and his client Russell Clarke are both sweating bullets.
Meanwhile, artist Miranda Jones was in her studio at the time of the initial quake, and a heavy shelf topples over, striking her in the head and knocking her unconscious. To make matters worse, no one is likely to come looking for her any time soon, as everyone is dealing with their own crises. But, surprisingly, the man Miranda had been dating . . . then broken up with . . . shows up in Milford-Haven, looking for her. When he arrives at her house and sees she’s injured, he gets help as she’s pinned by the heavy shelf.
The story of any earthquake is a story of “life interrupted.” Whatever you thought you’d be doing, you’re not. All attention must go to safety. Structures have to be checked for soundness; until power is restored, people have to adapt to being without it, and that means everything from refrigeration to illumination.
In Los Angeles, we outfit our homes and apartments with extra water, dried and canned food, shoes that can be worn over broken glass, extra batteries (charged), and even portable solar packs. And we keep extra supplies in the trunks of our cars, too, in case we’re not home and have to get there, or home is damaged and we have to go elsewhere. It takes planning.
During the last big quake in L.A., we lost phone service—both land and cellular—almost immediately. But my close friends and I had pre-planned where to gather, and we then helped each other through those first days without phones, power, or running water. So I brought some of these experiences into the radio drama.
One of the best things about a crisis is that our inherent generosity and kindness comes to the surface. For some people, fear falls away, and what’s left is a simple determination to help someone else. Heroic acts become commonplace during these moments. In Milford-Haven we suddenly see the best in Jack Sawyer—usually totally focused on money and uncaring toward his employees. And we see the best in Zack Calvin—usually self-absorbed and entitled. I loved being able to bring out these deeper qualities, and so did the actors playing these roles.
Perhaps the most important thing we discover during a crisis is . . . what’s most important. I hope that’s the lesson taken away from this storyline in the drama.