8th Aug 2016, 12:00 AM
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Author Notes:

LilyRose 8th Aug 2016, 12:00 AM edit delete
Chapter Three

Ever since her Mom died, the radio station has become a surreal place. As though it were a power center, a confluence of forces she’d never felt before. She feels them now – some protective coating over her nerves has been scorched away, and she feels everything. Coming to work is like walking into a vortex. It’s like having double-vision; two worlds; each the same, each different, sharing the same space, inside and out of her head.

Mary Jane, a woman too large for her name, turns sideways as always to slip through the studio door. “Ta-da!” she calls with a broad smile, hefting a pre-labeled cart and a sheet of paper into the air. She holds them as though they are trophies.

“Done!” she says, heaving a theatrical sigh. “Finally.” She slaps them down on the counter that protects Luna from animals such as advertising salespeople, and throws her smile Luna’s way. Then her face pinches up into a sour grimace, and she says,

“At Five O’clock I get this call from Ray telling me they’re having a big meat sale tomorrow and he wants to change the morning spots. At Five O‘clock, can you believe it? I could bite his head off, if he wasn’t so damn sweet about it.”

Bite his head off, thinks Luna.

“Luna, honey, would it be a problem for you to get this done tonight? The first one runs at six-thirty, and McKibben pitches a fit every time there’s a spot on the schedule and he can’t find the cart.” She points the cart’s label toward Luna: it says Ray’s Market: :60.

Luna glances at the script. Ray’s post-Thanksgiving Massive Meat sale is on now, at Ray’s Market, Route 42, Kattekill. She looks up at Mary Jane. “You wrote this?”

“Just finished it. I’ve really got to go, I’m already late for picking up Jason. So, can you do it for me?”

“Ray’s Massive Meat sale,” says Luna. “Sure, I can do it; leave it in the production room. And pull the Donut from the file too, okay?”

Mary Jane’s face goes through another little twist. She doesn’t want to do any more work today. But she says nothing, and flounces off into the production room, yanking open the file cabinet to find the reel with the Ray’s Market music bed.

“Thanks a lot, Luna!” Mary Jane says as she heads out. “Bye!”

The song ends, Luna leans into the microphone, and opens the mike channel. Through the window to the anteroom, Luna sees Mary Jane putting on her coat, bathed in the crimson light of the ON AIR sign. She back announces the set; Perry Como, Billy Eckstein, Glen Miller; nodding as Mary Jane waves buh-bye through the glass.

Now she is alone. Luna hits the remote key to start one of the tape decks in the other room, kills the mike, and steps out from her place behind the counter and the ancient mainboard of the station. She can already feel the energy, filtering up through the floor. It waits, until everybody else has gone, waits until it’s alone with her. Some trick of electromagnetic balance, or something. Like in Fairy Tales, where only certain people are able to see the magick.
The night’s production work sits in a pile on a tabletop between the two reel-to-reels and the cart machines. She sits in the chair and turns on the board. Then she hits Record on one of the reel-to-reels, but leaves the mike turned off. She lets it run for a minute or so, stops the tape and rewinds. She turns up the production room monitor, and hits Play.

She turns up the speaker pot high enough to hear the hiss. It’s a quiet sound, a low sibilance. She listens carefully. This has become a steady habit – waiting until everyone has left, them coming into the Production Room to hear the night’s message.

In the tape room, Deck A clicks off, and Deck B starts up with the second song of the set. Luna rewinds the tape and hits Play again. This time she finds it; a low whispering about twenty seconds in. She rewinds the tape partway, and listens again. There it is; the voice, whispering to her, telling her things. It doesn’t matter, that she can’t understand the words. What’s important is that she listens to it. Whatever is contained in it, whatever she is meant to know; it will find its way through.

Luna rewinds the tape again, and hits Play.

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