Max, the night watchman, wanders along hallways and up and down staircases, making the rounds of a towering office building.

In The Dark (Part 2)[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, Narrative Monologue, Scripted Actors, 52 minutes
Preceded by: In The Dark (Part 1)
Followed by: Two Babes

In The Dark (Part 2) is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1992.


Max, the night-watchman, and his blind dog, Shadow, have lost their way. They've lived in the building for years. He has vague memories of his life before, a girlfriend.

4:30: Answering machine message left by Max's boss, telling him to come to work as soon as he can, prepare to stay late.[1]

6:50: Max comes to work, hasn't left since. He wonders how he came to this, what he could have done differently.

8:30: Sometimes the doors he opens are into different worlds: seashore, an African marketplace, Roman-style orgy... He never goes into these worlds.

12:10: Shadow's blindness reminds Max of 3 famous people who had injuries that made their careers impossible but took the opportunity to improve their lives other ways - but had tragic ends still.

17:50: Max opens a door, finds himself on stage. The audience finds everything he says hilarious, asks him to sing 'Me and my shadow'.

19:10: 'Carlos Santiago' does a mic check over storm sounds. He speaks a few words of Spanish, sometimes calls it Arabic. He recites the 'Lord's Prayer', talks a lot of nonsense, calls himself crazy.[2]

23:00: Max and Shadow enter a room with a large bed which has a beautiful woman on it. She asks him in, has him sit on the bed. She wants him to dance. He's reluctant, but goes along. She kisses him. Her husband shows up; Max and Shadow hide under the bed. The woman and her husband make love. After he goes to another room, Max and Shadow escape.

27:10: Max opens a door into a radio studio. 'Max realizes that the man would like to create programs that are spiritually nourishing and generate hope, and finds himself so deeply entrenched in cynicism, that the best he can do is add the tonic of dark humor. He feels that this is a profound shortcoming in his work. If only he could be happy and convey a sense of joy in life to his listeners.'

27:50: The radio guy (Joe) spits water on his engineer, Theo Mondle, who objects.

30:20: Max finds a door which opens into the street. He sees a phone booth. He goes to make a call, but another man beats him to it. The other man talks about how all attempts to storm the building have been frustrated by their extensive fortifications.

33:50: Woman (Grace Zabriskie?) tells about how much she likes a man who's not lost, knows what he wants.

35:20: 'Maybe we all fail to realize that the problems we struggle with are themselves illusory and that the problems we urgently need to solve are the ones we're unaware of.' Joe talks about a Buddhist line of thought that priests can lie so as to entice people to act better.

37:00 'This program is not for those who want answers. Questions are what interests us here.' People who are certain foreclose learning new things. Questions stay the same while answers change. 'Answers are for people who don't have the courage to live with questions.'[3]

40:10: 'There were a number of Hindu myths where a man dreams he meets a beautiful woman, marries her, they have children, and grow old together, and then suddenly he wakes up thinking that sixty years have passed, when only a few seconds have gone by.'

40:40: Seekers threaten social order, why Socrates was killed.

41:10: Those committed to doubt live without foundation.

43:00: Joe and Theo sing 'Me and my shadow'. They reconcile then go out for a beer.

45:30: Joe says he's not happy with what he's accomplished, wonders how he'll resolve his problems. They walk down Pico, go into Brennan's for a drink.

46:20: Distorted voice asks, 'Remember the night Margo and I stood on a veranda in Fez gazing out over the domes of the city?...' talks about what happened that night, then describes last night's dream.

48:40: Joe coaches a woman (Grace Zabriskie?) in the scene at 33:50.

Legacy Synopsis

Max is a night watchman with a blind dog. He remembers a love affair. An answering machine message from his boss, telling him that the staff is trapped in the building because of gunfire and that he will need to work overtime for the rest of the week. He's been in the building ever since. "The discovery that you've lost your way in life..." Opening office doors and finding oneself in another world. Being an idea rather than a person - "... a concept drinking a coke" A blind guard dog, an arthritic surgeon, a lawyer with brain disease, and a scarred model. Max finds himself on stage. A man speaks nonsense in English with mangled Spanish words: tortilla v/s tortela, tell me the truth now, la cucaracha, etc. Max finds himself in a woman's apartment, we hear the woman with her husband. Max ends up in Joe's studio. Joe spits at his engineer. A man in a phone booth describes trying to get into a fortified building. Buddhists justify making false promises to solve peoples' problems: the parable of the child in a burning house, the fire sutra. A question mark v/s a period. Zealots, a man lost in a forest. Bishop Berkeley's fossils as tests of faith argument. Eternal questions. A man dreams a lifetime, wakes up, and later meets his children from the dream. Pascal's defense of faith, and following one's heart. One cannot know the sacred. Joe and Theo Mondle sing "Me and My Shadow," and go out for a beer. Joe is unhappy with what he's accomplished. Theo interviews a homeless guy. Tinny voice: slashing oneself with a champagne bottle on a veranda, an escalator filled with people who turn into animals. Joe coaches an actress on the hotel room scene.


Shared Material


  1. Eliot Wilder claims that this message was left by his boss at the Los Angeles Times, John Dix, in 1992 on his answering machine. He gave the tape to Joe.
  2. reused in Raymond/Third World Country and The Box
  3. At 38:10 Joe says, 'During the early debate over evolution, there was a bishop of the Church of England, Bishop Berkeley, who argued that Darwin had all the facts right, but had misunderstood them.' This wasn't Bishop Berkeley. He may have meant Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester, a prominent skeptic of evolution.