Montag, 15. Mai 2017

{Episode 3} - Station Management

The arctic is lit by the midnight sun. The surface of the moon is lit by the face of the earth. Our little town is lit, too, by lights just above that we cannot explain.
Welcome to Night Vale.
The Night Vale Daily Journal has announced that they will be cutting back their publication schedule to Monday through Thursday only, due to the economic downturn and a massive decline in the literate population. The Thursday Daily Journal will now be called the Weekend Edition, and on Sundays, newspaper kiosks – usually filled with important newsprint – will be filled with 2% milk.
When asked “Why milk?,” the Journal’s publishing editor Leann Heart said, “It is important that we maintain an unbiased approach to news reporting.”
The Night Vale Business Association is proud to announce the new Night Vale Stadium, next to The Night Vale Harbor and Waterfront Recreation Area. The stadium will be able to seat 50,000 but will be closed all nights of the year except November 10th, for the annual Parade of the Mysterious Hooded Figures, in which all of our favorite ominous Hooded Figures – the one that lurks under the slide in the Night Vale Elementary playground, the ones that meet regularly in the Dog Park, and the one that will occasionally openly steal babies (and for a reason no one can understand, we all stand by and let him do it) – all of them will be parading proudly through Night Vale Stadium.
I tell you, with these new facilities, it promises to be quite a spectacle.
And then it promises to be a vast, dark, and echo-y space for the other meaningless 364 days of the year.
Here at the radio station it’s contract negotiation season with the station management again! That’s always an interesting time. Now, obviously, I’m not allowed to go into details, but negotiation is tricky when you’re never allowed to glimpse what you’re negotiating with.
Station management stays inside their office at all times, only communicating with us through sealed envelopes that are spat out from under the door like a sunflower shell through teeth. Then, in order to respond, you just kind of shout at the closed door and hope that management hears.
Sometimes you can see movements through the frosted glass, large shapes shifting around, strange tendrils whipping through the air.
Architecturally speaking, the apparent size of management’s office does not physically make sense given the size of the building, but it’s hard to say, really, as no one has ever seen the actual office – only its translucence.
Look, I’ve probably said too much. I can see down the hall that an envelope just came flying out. I pray it’s not another HR retraining session in the Dark Box. Uugh!
But what can I say? I’m a reporter at heart. I can’t not report.
Oh, my…
Let’s go to the seven-day outlook.
Your daily shades of the sky forecast:
Monday: Turquoise
Tuesday: Taupe
Wednesday: Robin’s egg
Thursday: Turquoise/taupe
Friday: Coal dust
Saturday: Coal dust with chances of indigo in the late afternoon
Sunday: Void
The City Council has asked me to remind everyone about the new drive to clean up litter. Night Vale is our home. And who wants to leave trash all over their home? Put it in the garbage can, listeners! And if you see any trash around, pick it up and throw it away. Do your part.
Unless the trash is marked with a small red flag. The Council has asked me to remind you that any litter marked with a red flag is not to be picked up or approached.
Remember the slogan: “No flag? Goes in the bag. Red flag? Run!”
Listeners, we are currently fielding numerous reports that books have stopped working. It seems that all over Night Vale, books have simply ceased functioning. The scientists are studying one of the broken books to see if they can understand just what is going on here.
The exact problem is currently unclear, but some of the words being used include “sparks,” “meat smell,” “biting,” and “lethal gas." For your own safety, please do not attempt to open a book until we have more information on the nature and cause of these problems.
The City Council has released only a brief statement indicating that their stance on books has not changed and that, as always, they believe that books are dangerous and inadvisable and should not be kept in private homes.
Another warning for Night Vale residents: Sources say that the Used and Discount Sporting Goods store on Flint Drive is a front for the World Government. This is based on extensive study of the location, and also because it has a black helicopter pad on which black helicopters regularly depart and land. Fairly unusual for a used and discount sporting goods store. We sent our intern, Chad, to try buying a tennis racket – and have not heard back from him for several weeks.
This brings me to a related point:
To the parents of Chad the Intern: we regret to inform you that your son was lost in the line of community radio duty, and that he will be missed and never forgotten. May you all feel blessed to have the family that you have, and if you’re looking for sporting goods, check out Play Ball right over by our own Night Vale community radio station! Play Ball is only a front for the Sheriff’s Secret Police, and so can be completely trusted.
Larry Leroy, out on the edge of town, reported that a Creeping Fear came into Night Vale today. He felt it first as a mild apprehension, then a growing worry, and finally a mortal panic. It passed from him to the employees at the Car Lot, who crouched behind their cars and cast fearful eyes at the empty sky.
It did not affect Old Woman Josie, presumably because of her angelic protection, but it went from there to the rest of the town until we all were shivering in anticipation for a terrible thing we could not yet see.
I myself was frozen, sure that any movement would lead to death; that any word would be my last.
Of course, that also could have been the contracts negotiations with station management, and the hideous envelope I just received.
Also, I’m battling Lyme disease.
Meanwhile, the Creeping Fear passed, first leaving Larry Leroy out on the edge of town, and then the Car Lot, where they went back to offering gently used cars at affordable prices, and finally the rest of us – who could go back to living with the knowledge that at any given moment we will either live or die, and it’s no use guessing which.
It is not currently known where the Creeping Fear will go next – hopefully to Desert Bluffs. It would serve them right.
Two hawk-eyed listeners sent in reports that Carlos, our curious scientific visitor, was seen getting his beautiful, beautiful hair cut. He was having his gorgeous hair shorn! Cut! Cut short! So very short from his perfectly-shaped brilliant head!
Listeners, I am not one to gossip even if it is a local celebrity, but please explain to me why Carlos would strip away – decimate! – any part of his thick black hair…not to ignore the dignified, if premature, touch of gray in the temples.
What treacherous barber should agree to such depravity? Who takes mere money, or even soulless joy, in depriving our small community of such a simple, but important, act as luridly admiring Carlos’s stunning coif?
Reports from two intrepid sources are that it was Telly the Barber. Telly, who likes sports and has posters of combs. Telly the Barber seems to be the one who betrayed our community.
Telly the Barber.
It is Telly the Barber at the corner of Southwest 5th Street and Old Musk Road, with the red and white spinning pole and the sign that says, "Telly’s.”
Telly is about 5'9" with a small mustache and a thick pot belly. He talks with an accent and sneers. Telly the Barber cut Carlos’s beautiful hair. According to reports.
Telly.
Now, while I gather myself, let’s have a look at traffic.
Oh, wow!
Well, that looks pretty good.
Yup.
Yessss.
Okay, not too bad there either I see.
Oh! That gentleman needs to slow it down! It is not a race my friend! Not a literal one, anyway.
That has been traffic.
And now for an editorial.
I don’t ask favors much, dear listeners, that you know. But I’m asking all of you now to conduct a letter-writing campaign to station management, which was not…pleased with my discussion of their physical attributes and behavior and is now threatening to shut down my show – or possibly my life – for good. There wording was…kind of ambiguous.
Obviously we will not be able to deliver the letters directly to the management, per se, as no one has ever opened their door; but we can shout the content of the letters outside their office and we presume, given an anatomy that includes ears, they will be able to hear what you have to say.
So if you like this show, and you want to hear more of it, then we need to hear from you. Make your voice heard to whatever it is that lies in wait behind that darkened office door.
Oh! I’m sorry dear listeners. We’ll be back after this word from our sponsors.
This segment has been brought to us by Big Rico’s Pizza.
Listeners, we are proud to have Big Rico’s as a sponsor of our show. You will not find a better pizza joint in all of Night Vale then Big Rico’s.
Just the other night, I stopped by Big Rico’s. I was in the mood for a delicious pizza slice. And since Big Rico’s is the only pizza place in Night Vale that has not burnt to the ground in an unsolved arson case (and did I mention is also the best pizza in town), I ordered a single Rico’s slice with two authentic toppings.
And boy, was I satisfied. The flavor was scrumptious. The taste was also scrumptious. And it was warm, the pizza slice.
I have been told that even the Hooded Figures eat there; the wait staff look like they avert their hollow gazes quite a bit.
Even the City Council offers its ringing endorsement of Big Rico’s.
All Night Vale citizens are mandated to eat at Big Rico’s once a week. It is a misdemeanor not to.
Big Rico’s Pizza. No one does a slice like Big Rico, folks! No one.
And now, sweet, sweet listeners…the weather.
Hello, radio audience.
I come to you live from under my desk, where I dragged my microphone and am currently hiding in the fetal position.
Did you write letters? Then you should not do this anymore.
Station management has opened its door for the first time in my memory, and is now roaming the building.
I don’t know exactly what management looks like, as that is when I took cover under my desk and I can only hope that they are not listening to what’s going out right now or else I may have sealed my fate.
I can hear only a kind of clicking footstep, and faint hissing sound like – releasing steam.
An intern went to see what management wanted and has not returned. If you are related to Jerry Hartman, afternoon board operator at Night Vale Community Radio, I am sorry to inform you that he is probably dead or at least corporeally absorbed into management permanently!
Jerry and Chad the interns will both be missed, but we will surely see them in the Thanksgiving Day Dead Citizens Impersonation Contest, which this year will be in the employee lounge under the Night Vale Mall from 11:00 AM to 9:45 PM. There will be a cash bar and two Twister boards.
I am going to see if I can make a break for the door.
If you don’t hear from me again, it has truly been a pleasure.
Good night, Night Vale. And goodbye!
Today’s proverb: There’s a special place in Hell. It’s really hip. Very exclusive.

Sonntag, 14. Mai 2017

{Episode 2} Glow Cloud

The desert seems vast, even endless, and yet scientists tell us that somewhere, even now, there is snow.

Welcome to Night Vale.
The Night Vale Tourism Board’s “Visit-able Night Vale” campaign has kicked off with posters encouraging folks to take their family on a scenery-filled jaunt through the trails of Radon Canyon.
Their slogan? “The view is literally breathtaking.”
Posters will be placed at police stations and frozen yogurt shops in nearby towns, along with promotional giveaways of plastic sheeting and re-breathers.
And now, the news.
Have any of our listeners seen the glowing cloud that has been moving in from the west? Well, John Peters – you know, the farmer? He saw it over the western ridge this morning. Said he would have thought it was the setting sun if it wasn’t for the time of day.
Apparently the cloud glows in a variety of colors, perhaps changing from observer to observer, although all report a low whistling when it draws near.
One death has already been attributed to the Glow Cloud. But listen, it’s probably nothing. If we had to shut down the town for every mysterious event that at least one death could be attributed to, we’d never have time to do anything, right?
That’s what the Sheriff’s Secret Police are saying, and I agree. Although, I would not go so far as to endorse their suggestion to run directly at the cloud, shrieking and waving your arms, just to see what it does.
The Apache Tracker, and I remind you that this is that white guy who wears the huge and cartoonishly inaccurate Indian headdress, has announced that he has found some disturbing evidence concerning the recent incident at the Night Vale Post Office, which has been sealed by the City Council since the great screaming that was heard from it a few weeks ago.
He said that using ancient Indian magics, he slipped through council security into the post office, and observed that all the letters and packages had been thrown about as in a whirlwind.
That there was the heavy stench of scorched flesh.
That the words written in blood on the wall said, “More to come, and soon.”
Can you believe this guy said he used Indian magics? What an asshole!
Here’s something odd: there is a cat hovering in the men’s bathroom at the radio station here. He seems perfectly happy and healthy, but it’s floating about four feet off the ground next to the sink. Doesn’t seem to be able to move from its current hover-spot. If you pet him, he purrs, and he’ll rub on your body like a normal cat if you get close enough. Fortunately, because he’s right by the sink, it was pretty easy to leave some water and food where he could get it, and it’s nice to have a station pet.
Wish it wasn’t trapped in a hovering prison in the men’s bathroom, but listen: no pet is perfect. It becomes perfect when you learn to accept it for what it is.
And now a message from our sponsors.
I took a walk on the cool sand dunes, brittle grass overgrown, and above me in the night sky above me I saw. Bitter taste of unripe peaches and a smell I could not place nor could I escape.
I remembered other times that I could not escape. I remembered other smells.
The moon slunk like a wounded animal. The world spun like it had lost control.
Concentrate only on breathing, and let go of ideas you had about nutrition and alarm clocks.
I took a walk on the cool sand dunes, brittle grass overgrown, and above me in the night sky above me I saw.
This message was brought to you by Coca Cola.
The City Council, in cooperation with government agents from a vague yet menacing agency, is asking all citizens to stop by the Night Vale Elementary School gymnasium tonight at 7:00 for a brief questionnaire about mysterious sights that definitely no one saw and strange thoughts that in no way occurred to anyone. Because all of us are normal, and to be otherwise would make us outcasts from our own community.
Remember: if you see something, say nothing. And drink to forget.
The Boy Scouts of Night Vale have announced some slight changes to their hierarchy, which will now be the following: Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Eagle Scout, Blood Pact Scout, Weird Scout, Dreadnought Scout, Dark Scout, Fear Scout, and finally, Eternal Scout.
As always, sign-up is automatic and random, so please keep an eye out for the scarlet envelope that will let you know your son has been chosen for the process.
This is probably nothing listeners, but John Peters – you know, the farmer – he reports that the Glow Cloud is directly over Old Town Night Vale, and appears to be raining small creatures upon the earth. Armadillos, lizards, a few crows, that kind of thing.
Fortunately, the animals appear to be dead already, so the Night Vale Animal Control Department has said that it should be a snap to clean those up. They just have to be tossed on the eternal animal pyre in Mission Grove Park, so, if that’s the worst the Glow Cloud has for us, I say go ahead and do your daily errands. Just bring along a good strong umbrella capable of handling falling animals up to, say, ten pounds.
More on the Glow Cloud as it continues to crawl across our sky.
And hey, here’s a tip, take your kids out and use the Cloud’s constantly mutating hue to teach him or her the names of colors. It’s fun, and it shows them the real-life applications of learning.
Alert: the Sheriff’s Secret Police are searching for a fugitive named Hiram McDaniels, who escaped custody last night following a 9:00 PM arrest. McDaniels is described as a five-headed dragon, approximately 18 feet tall, with mostly green eyes, and weighing about 3600 pounds. He is suspected of insurance fraud.
McDaniels was pulled over for speeding last night, and the Secret Police became suspicious when he allegedly gave the officers a fake driver’s license for a five foot eight man named Frank Chen. After discerning that Frank Chen was actually a five-headed dragon from somewhere other than our little world, the Secret Police searched McDaniels’ vehicle.
Representatives from local civil rights organizations have protested that officers had no legal grounds to search the vehicle, but they ceded the point when reminded by Secret Police officials that our backwards court system will uphold any old authoritarian rule made up on the fly by unsupervised gun-carrying thugs of a shadow government.
The Secret Police say McDaniels escaped custody by breathing fire from his purple head, and he was last seen flying and shrieking over Red Mesa.
Secret Police are asking for tips leading to the arrest of Hiram McDaniels. They remind you that, if seen, he should not be approached, as he is literally a five headed dragon. Contact the Sheriff’s Secret Police if you have any information. Ask for Officer Ben.
Helpful tipsters will earn one stamp on their Alert Citizen card. Collect five stamps, and you get stop sign immunity for one year.
And now, a look at the community calendar.
Saturday, the Public Library will be unknowable. Citizens will forget the existence of the library from 6:00 AM Saturday morning until 11:00 PM that night. The library will be under a sort of renovation. It is not important what kind of renovation.
Sunday is Dot Day. Remember, red dots on what you love, blue dots on what you don’t. Mixing those up can cause permanent consequences.
Monday, Louie Blasco is offering bluegrass lessons in the back of Louie’s Music Shop. Of course, the shop burned down years ago, and Louie skipped town immediately after with his insurance money, but he’s sent word that you should bring your instrument to the crumbled ashy shell of where his shop once was, and pretend that he is there in the darkness teaching you. The price is $50 per lesson, payable in advance.
Tuesday afternoon, join the Night Vale PTA for a bake sale to support Citizens For a Blood Space War. Proceeds will go to support neutron bomb development and deployment to our outer solar system allies.
Wednesday has been canceled due to a scheduling error.
And on Thursday is a free concert. And…that’s all it says here.
New call in from John Peters – you know, the farmer? Seems the Glow Cloud has doubled in size, enveloping all of Night Vale in its weird light and humming song.
Little League administration has announced that they will be going ahead with the game, although there will be an awning built over the field due to the increase in size of the animal corpses being dropped. I’ve had multiple reports that a lion, like the kind you would see on the sun-baked plains of Africa, or a pee-stained enclosure at a local zoo, fell on top of the White Sand Ice Cream Shop. The shop is offering a free dipped cone to anyone who can figure out how to get the thing off.
The Sheriff’s Secret Police have apparently taken to shouting questions at the Glow Cloud, trying to ascertain what exactly it wants. So far, the Glow Cloud has not answered.
The Glow Cloud does not need to converse with us. It does not feel as we tiny humans feel. It has no need for thoughts or feelings of love.
The Glow Cloud simply is.
All hail the mighty Glow Cloud!
All hail!
And now, slaves of the Cloud, the weather.
Sorry, listeners. Not sure what happened in that earlier section of the broadcast – as in I actually don’t remember what happened. Tried to play back the tapes, but they’re all blank, and smell faintly of vanilla.
The Glow Cloud, meanwhile, has moved on. It is now just a glowing spot in the distance, humming east to destinations unknown. We may never fully understand, or understand at all what it was and why it dumped a lot of dead animals on our community.
But, and I’m going to get a little personal here, that’s the essence of life, isn’t it?
Sometimes you go through things that seem huge at the time, like a mysterious glowing cloud devouring your entire community. While they’re happening they feel like the only thing that matters, and you can hardly imagine that there’s a world out there that might have anything else going on.
And then the Glow Cloud moves on. And you move on. And the event is behind you. And you may find that, as time passes, you remember it less and less. Or absolutely not at all, in my case.
And you are left with nothing but a powerful wonder at the fleeting nature of even the most important things in life – and the faint but pretty smell of vanilla.
Dear listeners, here is a list of things.
  • Emotions you don’t understand upon viewing a sunset
  • Lost pets, found
  • Lost pets, unfound
  • A secret lost pet city on the moon
  • Trees that see
  • Restaurants that hear
  • A void that thinks
  • A face half-seen just before falling asleep
  • Trembling hands reaching for desperately needed items
  • Sandwiches
  • Silence when there should be noise
  • Noise when there should be silence
  • Nothing when you want something
  • Something when you thought there was nothing
  • Clear plastic binder sheets
  • Scented dryer sheets
  • Rain coming down in sheets
  • Night
  • Rest
  • Sleep
  • End
Goodnight, listeners. Goodnight.
Today’s proverb: Men are from Mars; women are from Venus; Earth is a hallucination; podcasts are dreams.