• Sara McNabb

Season 1 Episode 2 Transcript now available!


Episode 2: “Etta”

SARA: What am I getting myself into?

SFX: RECORDING APP BEEP

SARA: Yeah, there’s the counter going . . . we’re recording. All right, knowers. This is apparently a week of new things for Somebody Knows. We started two days ago with our first-ever call-in segment for our live listeners, to get some discussion and dialogue going on our mysteries. But like you heard -- if you’ve given it a listen yet -- things took an unexpected turn with our fourth caller. As they often do in the cases we look at. So now we’re on a road trip for our first on-location episode. Destination: Etta, Indiana. For those of you unfamiliar with its charms, Etta’s a small town in southern Indiana, with that small, rural, Midwestern thing going that makes you think of where Superman grew up. The population’s been in decline for years. And in the interest of full disclosure, I’m part of that problem: My mom sold our house in Etta and we moved to Cincinnati sixteen years ago. That was three years after the biggest --

SFX: QUICK POLICE SIREN BURST

SARA: Crap, what now? I’m not speeding . . . yeah, yeah, you can turn off the red lights, I’m pulling over.

SFX: CAR SLOWING ON GRAVEL, COMING TO A STOP

SARA: Looks like I’m in for one of Etta’s famous out-of-towner traffic stops, knowers.

SFX: CAR POWER WINDOW

SARA: Good afternoon, officer. What appears to be the problem?

C.J.: License and proof of insurance, please.

SARA: Sure. I’ll have to get my license out of my purse and insurance out of the glove box.

C.J.: Please.

SFX: GLOVE BOX OPENING

SARA: So, what appears to be the problem, officer?

SARA: Here’s my proof of insurance. And my license.

C.J.: Were you aware you neglected to signal your lane change about a mile back?

SARA: I was the only car on the road.

C.J.: The Law doesn’t say there has to be any other cars on the road for you to signal. I’d like to check your vehicle. If you could pop your trunk --

SARA: I respectfully decline that request, and I do not give any permission for any search of my car.

C.J.: This is a routine -- Is your phone recording us?

SARA: Yes. Yes it is. I --

OFFICER FISHER You need turn it off.

SARA: Uh, no. I prefer to leave it running as a record of our interaction.

C.J.: Recording an officer without permission isn’t --

SARA: There are only eleven states in the U.S. where it’s illegal to record a police officer performing his or her duties in public. And this isn’t one of those states.

C.J.: Look, Miss . . . McNabb?

SARA: Yes . . .

C.J.: Sara McNabb?

SARA: Yes. Is there -- ?

C.J.: You’re Lindy McNabb’s baby sister.

SARA: I wouldn’t say “baby” --

C.J.: Why didn’t you say so before? I’m Charlie Fischer. Lindy and I were on the basketball team together back in high school.

SARA: You used to walk with us sometimes, when our mom made Lindy walk me home from school. C.J. . . . You went by C.J. back then.

C.J.: Yeah, not so much since my dad passed -- No need to distinguish Charles Junior once Senior’s gone.

SARA: I’m sorry to hear that.

C.J.: It’s been almost twenty years. You in to visit your brother?

SARA: He’s been out to see us, but I haven’t been back to Etta since Mom moved us away.

C.J.: No worries -- Nothing’s changed. Here. Take your documents.

SARA: Got ’em. Thanks.

C.J.: Well, I’m glad we bumped into each other.

SARA: We can . . . call it that.

SARA & C.J.: (Both laugh awkwardly)

C.J.: Just try to pay attention to the rules of the road, okay?

SARA: I’ll tell Lindy you said “hi.”

SFX: CAR POWER WINDOW

SARA: And that, knowers, is how you handle a traffic stop.

SFX: CAR STARTING

SFX: TV BASKETBALL GAME

LINDY: Come on, come on! Show some hustle!

SFX: DOORBELL

SFX: FOOTSTEPS

SFX: DOOR UNLOCKING, OPENING

LINDY: Sara!

SARA: Hey, big brother!

LINDY: Get in here, sit! Let me turn this down...

SFX: VOLUME DOWN ON TV BASKETBALL GAME

SARA: If the game’s on --

LINDY: This is Indiana. The game’s always on. You’re early. You must have been flying.

SARA: Wasn’t speeding, but I did get pulled over.

LINDY: Out-of-state plates will do that for you every time in Etta.

SARA: -- pulled over by C.J..

LINDY: C.J.? Did he recognize you?

SARA: Right. I weighed a hundred and three pounds and had braces the last time I was here.

LINDY: You have put on a lot of weight since then.

SARA: Shut up!

LINDY: At least your acne’s cleared up. Mostly.

SARA: Shut up! How’s Etta’s only cell phone repair and accessories store going?

LINDY: People here are really careless with their phones.

SARA: Well then, “yay!”

LINDY: Plus, I’m expanding into other consumer electronics. You’d be surprised how many people here want their own drone and camera.

SARA: Not sure I want to think about why, so again, “yay.”

LINDY: You want a beer?

SARA: Yeah I do.

SFX: FRIDGE CLOSING (RATTLING BOTTLES, THUMP)

LINDY: Here ya go.

SFX: BEER BOTTLE HISSES OPEN

SARA: Thanks.

SFX: BEER BOTTLE HISSES OPEN

LINDY: It’s good seeing you.

SARA: Good seeing you.

SFX: BOTTLES CLINK

LINDY: You still keep up with college ball?

SARA: I was never that into when we lived here.

SFX: VOLUME UP ON TV BASKETBALL GAME

SARA: Seriously?

LINDY: What?

SARA: I text you a vague “got time for a visit” message and then drive hours all this way and you hand me a beer, turn up the game, and that’s it?

SFX: TV BASKETBALL CROWD CHEERS RISING

LINDY: We can talk screen replacements and small town voyeurs . . .

SARA: You’re not going to ask me --

LINDY: Ask what? I figured you hadn’t been back in a long time and wanted to revisit the place.

SARA: Oh, for --

LINDY: Fine, I’ll play, then. Why did you come back? Mom’s okay, right?

SARA: Oh, yeah. No, she’s fine.

LINDY: So -- ?

SARA: So I had to come back to Etta. And I need your help.

SFX: TV BASKETBALL CROWD CHEERS FOR SCORE

LINDY: Help with what?

SFX: TV BASKETBALL CROWD DYING DOWN

SARA: There was this caller on my live podcast the other night. He . . . he called while I was talking about a cold case. He wouldn’t give his name. He . . . the way he talked, the things he said -- I think he knows us. I’m thinking it’s got to be somebody from Etta. He mentioned Petra, he mentioned you. He wants me to look into the whole Rufus Knobbe incident.

LINDY: I know.

SFX: TV BASKETBALL GAME

SARA: What do you mean you know?

LINDY: Sara.

SARA: You made me go through that whole explanation and you already knew? How -- waitaminnit, did Mom call and talk to you? I told her not to --

LINDY: She didn’t.

SARA: Don’t cover for her. God, she acts like we’re still kids.

SFX: TV BASKETBALL CROWD CHEERS RISING

LINDY: I’m not covering for her.

SARA: She’s just freaked out.

LINDY: She should be. And so should you. Whoever that caller was --

SARA: I told her I would talk to you when I got to Etta. She didn’t need to --

LINDY: She didn’t.

SARA: C’mon, Lindy. How else would you know?

LINDY: Because I heard it.

SARA: You heard it.

SFX: TV BASKETBALL CROWD DYING DOWN

LINDY: Yes.

SARA: How?

LINDY: Uh, listening to your show.

SARA: You listen to my podcast?

SFX: TV BASKETBALL GAME

LINDY: First, you’re my sister. Second, Somebody Knows is actually pretty interesting.

SARA: How long have you been listening?

LINDY: Months . . . Mom texted me a link after you racked up a few episodes for download.

SARA: Thanks for never saying anything.

LINDY: That guy the other night, the one that called about Rufus, you need to think about what he said.

SARA: I stayed up all night that night thinking about what he said. And researching. That’s what got me to come back here.

LINDY: What did?

SFX: TV BASKETBALL CROWD CHEERS RISING

SARA: He’s right. The caller, he’s right. There’s something wrong with how the whole thing was handled, how the case came together and how it was resolved. He said Petra was lying.

LINDY: Yes.

SARA: Was she? Was she lying?

LINDY: How would I know?

SARA: Maybe because you two were together all the time back then?

LINDY: She never told me anything about it.

SARA: You didn’t ask?

LINDY: No.

SARA: No? What did you two talk about?

SFX: TV BASKETBALL CROWD DYING DOWN

LINDY: Whatever teenagers talk about. I couldn’t tell you.

SARA: What was your deal with her?

LINDY: What’s that supposed to mean?

SFX: TV BASKETBALL CROWD CHEERS RISING

SARA: Back when I was thirteen, I thought you two were dating. But looking back over the last few days, listening to you now . . . I never saw you two even holding hands. Mom never caught you with Petra on your lap or locking lips. And you two were together for like two years.

LINDY: I don’t know.

SARA: You spent all the time with her.

LINDY: We were . . . we were friends. We went to movies, went to bonfires, bitched to each other about school and parents . . .

SARA: Was it romantic?

LINDY: She’d hug me when she saw me, or when I’d take her back home at night.

SARA: That’s like a girl handshake. How did you two even get together?

SFX: TV BASKETBALL CROWD DYING DOWN

LINDY: You make it sound like it was crazy for her to be with me.

SARA: She was tall, slim, blonde . . . She dressed cool and sophisticated . . . her hair was always like something from a trendy magazine cover -- Believe me, at thirteen, I was hoping you’d marry her and she’d be my big sister. OMG, were you like her beard? Stunning young lesbian afraid to come out in her small town, pretending to date the second-string high school basketball forward who had the hopeless crush on her . . .

SFX: TV BASKETBALL GAME

LINDY: Wow. “Hopeless” and “second string.”

SARA: I didn’t mean it that way. Let’s get back to the incident.

LINDY: Let me turn this off.

SFX: TV BASKETBALL GAME GOES OFF

SARA: She never said anything to you about what happened with Rufus Knobbe?

LINDY: No. She got weird around then. Quiet.

SARA: Hold on. I should be --- Where’s my bag?

LINDY: For what? What are you getting?

SARA: Give me a second . . .

LINDY: Is that a microphone?

SARA: Yeah. We’re going to record this.

LINDY: What for?

SARA: The podcast. I’m putting the whole investigation on, over several segments.

LINDY: I never thought you’d --

SARA: If nothing else, it’s easier than taking notes.

SARA: Okay we’re on. Knowers, we’re asking questions and running down answers in our first-ever Somebody Knows field investigation, “The Etta Witness.”

LINDY: Are you streaming this?

SARA: No. I’m only recording. Pickups in a different space never sound right, so I’m getting everything here right now.

LINDY: Then all this chatter . . . ?

SARA: . . . Will be edited out when I put the episode together. Now, take a breath, and we’re just going to keep talking like we were. I’m your host, Sara McNabb, on location in my hometown, Etta, Indiana. And not by coincidence. This whole case has a personal connection for me. If you missed the first segment, there’s a link below, right before the comments. Our mystery caller thought highly enough of Somebody Knows and myself to challenge me to look into the story of Rufus Knobbe, a local vagrant who nineteen years ago was arrested and ultimately convicted for abducting and stabbing high school senior Petra Novak. He’s remained in jail on a life sentence ever since. Kicking off this investigation, I’ve decided to go for the low-hanging fruit first -- which happens to be my big brother, Lindy, who at the time was close friends with the victim.

LINDY: Uh, hey.

SARA: I’ll point to you when I need you to start talking, okay?

LINDY: Oh. Got it.

SARA: It was May, the end of Petra Novak’s senior year of high school. Petra had just left the main street secondhand shop she frequented for unique and vintage clothes that made her look the envy of girls throughout the small town.

LINDY: Envy? Man, you really did worship her.

SARA: I said I would point. As Petra would later report, in the parking lot, after she climbed into her Jeep Liberty and shut the door, she glanced in her rearview mirror to see Rufus Knobbe reach out from behind her seat where he was hiding and press the tip of a large pair of scissors to her throat. He ordered her silent and instructed her to drive for nearly two hours until they reached a field at the end of a dead-end road a hundred miles away. After he stabbed her in the shoulder with the scissors, Petra escaped into a stand of trees and then across a cornfield to a farmhouse, where the residents took her in and summoned help. Lindy, what did Petra say to you about the attack? You can start talking now, Lindy.

LINDY: She never said anything.

SARA: You were friends back then, close enough that many people, myself included, even assumed you were dating. She never spoke to you about it? Never confided in you?

LINDY: No. We were kids, and some things . . . you just don’t know how to talk about, I guess. What she had to be going through -- What do they call that? PTSD? She had to be in shock.

SARA: You didn’t find it odd she never said anything to you about what happened?

LINDY: No. She got weird around then.

SARA: Weird. Can you describe that?

LINDY: Quiet. Real quiet.

SARA: After a trauma like that, you’d expect it.

LINDY: Not after.

SARA: You mean she became quiet before the incident with Rufus happened?

LINDY: Rufus . . . It happened on a Friday. I remember it because she and I had a history test that day -- our American Civ class had tests every other Friday. We studied together that Thursday night before, and she was . . . distracted.

SARA: Upset?

LINDY: Maybe anxious would be a better word. She was tapping, drumming her fingers -- she never did that -- She didn’t seem to hear me when I’d say something to her. She couldn’t sit for more than ten minutes, and normally I was the one suggesting a break.

SARA: How soon after she was brought back to Etta did you see her?

LINDY: It was Monday. Her dad showed up at school, asked if they’d release me.

SARA: And they let you go with some other parent? Isn’t that kind of relaxed, even for a small town like Etta?

LINDY: Not when the other parent is the deputy police chief.

SARA: Holy shit, Lindy! Petra Novak’s dad was Etta’s deputy police chief?

LINDY: Are you still recording?

SARA: Hang on.

SARA: Her dad was the deputy police chief?

LINDY: How did you not know that?

SARA: I barely knew what our mom did. And none of the news articles I found mentioned that.

LINDY: You sound like it’s important.

SARA: It is.

LINDY: Why?

SARA: Because of his connection to the police, to the investigation. The fact they played it down. Shit . . . I need to talk to Petra.

LINDY: So talk to her.

SARA: Easier said than done. I dug up a couple addresses on her for right after she left Etta and after she graduated college. I’ve been looking for her online --

LINDY: How hard did you look?

SARA: There are more Petra Novak’s out there than you’d think.

LINDY: She and I are Facebook friends. She literally lives about three miles from here, on the other side of Etta.

SARA: Are you kidding me?

LINDY: You didn’t go to my social media to even see?

SARA: I don’t think I’ve ever heard you bring her up since high school.

LINDY: She got divorced and moved back here a couple years ago. She’s Petra Van Damme now.

SARA: God, she gets a cool name even when she marries . . .

LINDY: Tell me again who had the hopeless crush on her?

SARA: Do you talk to her still?

LINDY: Not since the last time she broke her phone screen.

SARA: But you’re on Facebook with her. We can make that work.

LINDY: I’ll message her. Let me pull up Facebook.

SFX: PHONE KEYBOARD TICKS

SARA: It would also be good to interview the arresting officer, the guy who caught Rufus and brought him in. You’re not Facebook friends with him too, are you?

LINDY: That would be trickier.

SARA: Trickier how?

LINDY: Trickier in that it was Charlie Fischer --

SARA: The cop I just talked my way out of a ticket with?

LINDY: -- Not C.J.. Charles Fischer Senior. C.J.’s dad.

SARA: . . . who died twenty years ago. Dammit. That’s the problem with old cases.

LINDY: For anyone else maybe.

SARA: Was that a compliment?

LINDY: No.

SFX: PHONE FACEBOOK MESSAGING DING

LINDY: Hey, that’s Petra.

SARA: And?

LINDY: I told her my sister is in town and looking to say hi to old friends, maybe over coffee. Petra says the coffee shops here sell sewer water and that you should come to her house tomorrow morning at 9:30.

SARA: Score!

LINDY: So I’ll tell her that works for you?

SARA: Drinking sewer water with her would work for me, so yes.

LINDY: All right, I’ll send her your “yes” and get you her address.

SFX: PHONE DING

LINDY: Oh, crap, this is the cable company.

SARA: So tell ’em you’ve got satellite.

LINDY: No, they’re a customer. They run all their field tech service call scheduling through a phone app -- on phones they hire through me. I gotta take this.

SARA: Go.

LINDY: Hi! Lindell McNabb. I got your text. Walk me through what you’re experiencing . . .

SARA: Can’t believe I caught a break with Petra! I’ll have to go over my notes again, make a list of questions --

SFX: SARA’S PHONE RINGTONE

SARA: Hmm. Hello?

SFX: LONG, UNCOMFORTABLE DEAD AIR HUM

MR. X: Sara. Welcome back to Etta.

SARA: How do you know where I am?

SFX: WINDOW BLINDS RATTLING

MR. X: You chose to do right by Rufus. But it’s about to get dangerous. Remember Petra Novak is a liar --

SARA: You already told me that.

MR. X: -- And she isn’t the only one.

SARA: Help me out, then. Tell me who else is lying.

SFX: LONG, UNCOMFORTABLE DEAD AIR HUM

SARA: I did as you asked. I’m in Etta. I’m working on helping Rufus. You help me. Who else is lying?

SFX: LONG, UNCOMFORTABLE DEAD AIR HUM

MR. X: They all are.



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