Tag Archives: radio

Reception, Part III

Continued from Part II.

Although the doctor’s answer about Roy’s condition was not what he wanted, it did at least free him from the fear of the unknown. Roy returned to school, and his father attempted to teach him how to see the positive aspects of his condition. He excelled musically, being continuously exposed to many different styles. His general knowledge was excellent, and an early pursuit of the physics behind his condition set up his later skills in engineering.

But no tuition could overrule the fact that Roy lived in a world of noise. A constant cacophony followed his every move, keeping him from sleep, deep concentration and contemplation. His teenage quests to find places of countryside with poor reception or to cover his head with various metallic materials to disrupt the signal all met with failure. He could quote the most frequently played radio adverts with perfect intonation, yet was denied the pleasure of an engrossing book or the subtleties of cultural experience. So constantly was he interrupted, stimulated and advertised to that he found himself quite unable to grasp rudimentary adult skills, and as a young man found himself constantly lonely, overweight and in debt.

When school ended it seemed to Roy that his one chance to escape his own destiny had arrived. He borrowed some money from his family, jumped on a plane and headed for the most remote region that took his fancy – the deep jungle of South Hrothenia.

To be continued…

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Reception, Part II

Continued from Part I.

At first Roy’s mother dismissed his proclamation of madness as an overactive imagination. However, her son’s morose spell lasted into further weeks, and so she decided to take him to the doctor. She had vague worries about schizophrenia, although was aware that it tends not to show up at such an early age.

The doctor umm’d and ahh’d and studied the child, asking tricky questions to which Roy capably provided answers. Certainly, said the doctor, his intellectual development was quite advanced for his age, yet he appeared otherwise normal. What would be worrying in an adult, well… children get such fanciful ideas sometimes, and it was just a sign of a vivid imagination.

Roy could not be placated. He insisted he was mad, and got repeatedly upset about it. The doctor eventually capitulated and agreed to run more extensive tests. Roy was sent to a local specialist hospital equipped with a magnetic brain scanner. The test never happened. When he was brought into the scanning room, Roy began to scream. He knelt on the floor, holding his head in his hands, yelling at the top of his lungs. The nurses removed him from the room, and after he had been sedated they performed every other test possible. It was the x-ray that revealed the answer.

Through some unknown genetic or environmental arrangement, Roy had been born with a wire in his brain. It wound along sulci and between lobes, coiling and spiralling around the ventricles, connecting one side of his skull to the other.

The voices he heard, said the doctor, were every radio station within range, picked up by that wire. As for what could be done… nothing. This would be Roy’s life, for better or worse. Roy must learn to live with his gift, for he would never live without it.

To be continued…

Betrayal, in Hindsight

The interviewer sitting behind the microphone across from Maria was very young. Or maybe it was just that Maria herself felt so very old.

“Tell us how you came up with the name for the Mandy character,” the interviewer was saying.

“Well my grandmother’s maiden name was Amanda Rizenkraft,” said Maria. “It was her biscuits that I ate as a young girl and it seemed a fitting tribute, and it fitted with the main ingredient. I had to think about advertising though, which in those days was all about jingles that could be played on the radio, so I needed a rhyme. ‘Rizencandy’ seemed suitable. But for many decades afterwards many people asked my why I put rice in the biscuits. It’s traditional. They should have been asking why there was so much sugar. We did it to match the name, and it’s what the market of the time demanded.”

“Your biscuits are famous the world over. When the President of the United States met the President of China’s family, he gave boxes as gifts. Many famous luminaries have confessed to being fans, including Professor Tracey Luck, who said ‘there are two universal languages: mathematics and Mandy biscuits’. Did you think they would be so popular?”

“It’s quite remarkable to see a symbol of Upper Vlelland culture spread across the world. But for me it’s about nostalgia, memories of a bygone age. That’s what they mean to me.”

“Maria Loengraf, inventor of the Mandy Mandy Rizencandy biscuits, thank you for talking to us.”

“Thank you.”

The light on the microphones went off. The interviewer offered Maria some refreshments – a cup of tea and a plate of Mandy biscuits.

Maria smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. She picked up her walking stick and stood slowly.

“No thank you, dear,” she said. “They were never as good as the ones my grandmother made.”

Invasion Plan

Whapples are the best way to start your day. Heroes go to work on Whapples…

The announcer’s voice boomed across the hall as Malcolm and Doris took their places at the microphone. Doris’s hands were shaking a little, as always. Malcolm looked over to the audio technician to check they were not live yet, and whispered to distract his co-star.

“Martians this week, again. Seems to be a running theme,” he said. “I expected them to have run out of plots by now, they’ve invaded everywhere.”

“S’alright for you,” drawled Doris. “You don’t have to let out blood-curdling screams every episode. Quite dries out the throat.”

On the other side of the room, the announcer was holding an interview with a supposed nutrition expert extolling the benefits of a bowl of Whapples every morning.

“Do you eat that?” said Doris. “I’m not convinced by some of the things they say.”

Malcolm shrugged. “It pays the bills. What’s the problem?”

“…why a zillion folks eat Whapples for breakfast. Do you? Enjoy with…”

“What if it’s bad for the kids?” whispered Doris. “They all eat it. What if it’s doing something to them?”

Malcolm raised his eyebrows. “What, it’s a commie cereal?” he mocked.

“Forget Martians,” said Doris. “If I really wanted to take over people, that’s how I’d do it. I’d put something subtle in the food. Make people slowly apathetic. Take a long time doing it.”

“Ridiculous.”

“Sixty years,” she said. “Nobody would notice until too late.”

The technician began the countdown.