Saturday, January 31st. Another graveyard shift. No one tells you that life can get played out before you hit forty....
“Still with me night rangers? How about a long hot set of hair metal straight from the Scrapyard to keep out the cold? Remember, you’re listening to DJ Bzrkowzki, providing a soundtrack to your debauchery. Keep rocking.’”
...Or even twenty-one for that matter. At this point, my hand moves on reflex to drop my levels before the death sigh escapes my throat. I laid the needle on some King Kobra I’d found in the basement of Vintage Vinyl, dead certain that out of the two or so desperate souls out there listening to me, they’d both rather I put on Bon Jovi or anything that was good enough in its day to get a little money behind it. Why not? They ousted me from the Rock Show at the end of last year for trying to do just that – among other things – and from 3 to 5 a.m. I’ve got my own show, The Scrapyard, and 89.3 FM belongs to me. I was just in the mood to piss everyone off that night.
My flask ran dry before I’d even cued up the third PSA. I thought about having to walk out of Louis Hall at the end of my set into the first hint of sunrise, and decided I should bring two flasks with me next time. Things brightened up a little when the telephone started flashing.
“You’ve reached the Scrapyard: Metal’s final resting place.”
“What’s happening Molly?”
She started calling in last quarter. She said she was calling from Panama City, lying so ham-fistedly I had to stop myself from laughing every time I thought about it. I could just picture her: this shy little bespectacled girl that was so nervous she couldn’t even sleep, staying up all night listening to the radio until she stumbled on my mess and mistook me across the airwaves for some kind of James Dean fantasy.
“You know. Staying up. Rocking.” She trembled.
“How’s it going over there?”
I looked around the room, hypoxia blue in the glow of the computer monitor.
“It’s a real party. Got any requests?”
“Hmmm, what about Live Wire?”
She’d definitely been studying up. Her requests got better and better each time she called.
“Brizee, I need to tell you something…” She continued. My stomach dropped. I liked Molly’s calls, but I knew things were about to get weird.
“I’m all ears Molls.”
“I’m not in Panama City. I live on Grove Street actually. I’m in Medill.”
So she wanted to be more than just a voice over the phone. My heartbeat started catching up to Carmine Appice.
“You’re turning my world upside down – ” I said as sarcastically as I could.
“Just listen Brizee,” She commanded, her voice ice cold. “This might sound insane but I think something might happen, soon actually, and I don’t know who I can trust to tell this.... are you there?”
I’d completely lost my tongue. I never suspected the girl would be able to order as much as a sandwich.
“Yeah, sorry, Molly. I’m here.”
“I’ve been working on this piece about Chicago Fire.”
Chicago Fire: A group of Bienen dropouts from a couple years back that were taking over Chicago’s punk scene. They were supposed to be some kind of heroes. The Rock Show had a real hard-on for them.
“And a few days ago I started getting these calls from some guy with this strange voice claiming to be their manager. He was really scaring me. He told me that if I didn’t – shit.”
It went dead silent, save for King Kobra blasting on through the speakers.
“Molly? Are you there? I think we got disco — ”
“Who is this?”
It was a male voice with a bad head cold.
“Who is this?” I tried to fire back.
“Don’t fucking call here,” he sneered.
“Fuck y — ”
I heard a bang on the other end of the line as he hung up. I pulled the phone away from my face like it had tried to bite me and stared at the receiver like an idiot, as if I could see the whole scene with Molly going on right through the wire. I sat there doing nothing until I became aware of what sounded like a tiny zipper being undone over and over. The needle had run off my record.
To be continued next week.