Over the next few days, I did something that I hadn’t done in quite a while. There was no point or purpose; it was just an action that I just so happen to take part in out of sheer curiosity. Nothing pushed me, not even desperation. I hardly even remember thinking about it before it was done. I turned on the radio.
I couldn’t even dream of coming up with any kind of reason why, I just did one day. Looking around the room in boredom made it nearly inevitable to not have my eyes fixed upon that dusty electronic box on the shelf that stood against the wall on the other side of the table. I stared at what rest there, as if I had never seen it or anything like it there before. I had of course, it just felt as though I hadn’t. I had tried to use it, but there were hardly ever signals. As the streets started to fill more and more with panic, people stopped broadcasting. Even the good stuff was gone. After they went, the airwaves were blank for at least a year, by what I can guess.
Then it started to pick up again while the dust of what was once called life was starting to settle. As the threat of impending death passed from those who survived, people started to reach out. I had the people I needed, so I would only ever sit by and listen as people would call out for loved ones because the lock on the radio station was gone and they were free to use the place as they saw fit. It was painful, and rather boring. Besides, I had gathered a nice little record collection by now, so I had what I was looking for.
And still, here I am sitting back with my feet up on the table, as I listen to the sounds of mixed static and the distant sound of human voices. I was shocked, this little beater transistor radio is picking up the waves. It sat in my lap with that face appliances makes, but this appliance was actually talking back.
“If this thing made toast,” I mumbled under my breath. “I’d buy a million of them”. I often make jokes to myself. Sometimes I’m hilarious. Sometimes.
“What the fuck did you just say?” James yelled from across the room. He has good hearing and the room echo’s a bit when only two people occupy it.
“I’m picking up some weak signals on this radio,” I yelled back. “I can actually understand some of it.”
“Maybe its aliens,” suggested James as he occupied himself fixing an old DVD player. It was for Father McNulty who had just stumbled upon the box set of “Frasier” in what used to be a Best Buy. The man has learned to enjoy the simple things in life. I’m very happy for him.
“That’s what I’m hoping for,” I said lifting the box up to my ear for better reception. I could hear voices and was making out a few words, but all of the channels were either too far away, or too weak. I grow bored easily, so after a few minutes I placed it back on the table, turned the volume down to just above a whisper and went back to my book.
Here and there I would peek up from the pages, as if I heard something but it must have just been my madness and nothing more. It was a nice thought though. I had always sort of fancied the idea of myself becoming a radio D.J., among other things. Of course, I would have wanted the job years before I was even born. But I could see myself quite content maybe playing some records during the 1950’s. Played some tunes and talk about life and whatnot as I puffed away on a cigarette. It’s a nice little fantasy.
Sleep must have somehow snuck up upon my daydream because I woke up to the sound of a voice I had never heard before. It wasn’t alarmed or desperate. It didn’t cry out for help or demand anything from me. The sound of music pierced my ears and I was filled with some sort of unbelievable excitement.
“Well,” said the voice in a passive and peaceful tone. “I’m here and I don’t know where you are. I can tell you that I’ve grown bored. I’ve grown so terribly bored that I can no longer stand to it allow it for a single moment longer. No sir, I had all I can stand of this nonsense and I can’t stands no more. So here’s what I’ve decided to do. That’s right my friends, you’re ears don’t deceive you, I’ve decided to do just this for all my days and possibly some thereafter”.
I pulled my feet off from then table and slowly pulled myself out of my drowsy fantasy and into this new fantasy world that I couldn’t yet understand. My body turned until I found the source of this messiah of my mind. My savior was none other than a small transistor radio sitting on the table directly in front of me. The sound falling from the dusty old speaker sounded to be clear and more importantly, real. I stared at the box as if by looking at it, it would cave to my will and just tell me all of the answers I sought and knew it must be hiding.
“I grow terribly weary of all of this isolation and even wearier of the feeling that it’s all over. I mean, I don’t know about you but I’m still alive and would rather not just rot my gift of a life away. So from hence for, if you tune to this station, I’ll be entertaining. Sorry if you don’t really dig the beats I play but they are all certified to carry a good vibe and since I’m the only one ballsy enough to be able to spin some records these days, you’re stuck with me or the nice tweet-tweet of the birds”.
It was a DJ. I had a radio and a DJ to listen to. There was a little person living in this box that would talk to me anytime I wanted. I half expected to hear a number to call in requests.
“So without further babbling from yours truly,” said the smooth jazz voice as the music began to change. “Here’s a little number from Smokey Robinson. It’s called “You Really Got a Hold on Me” and you can call me Rudy Randle”. By now the music was getting louder and Rudy was speaking even softer than before. I sat there on the edge of my seat hanging on to every word. It had been years since any broadcaster actually wanted and deserved my attention, even before the collapse. Inside that little box was the hope that maybe, just maybe, there may be a world worth living in coming my way. It was beautiful.