Shorts for the Weekend — The Radio Dial, featuring Olga Núñez Miret

Altered Pixabay image

Saturday, September 17, 2022 

Hello everyone, and welcome back to this casual series of “Shorts for the Weekend.”  You're Never Too Old to Be a Prom Queen by Olga Núñez MiretThey’re written by yours truly, but illustrated with images that were created by and/or supplied by the featured guest, to inspire my stories.  I’m enjoying writing these tales, and hope that you have fun reading them.

Today’s images were provided by an author you know well if you’ve been following this blog, Olga Núñez Miret.  She “escaped from psychiatry” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that considering those thrilling books she wrote.  Here’s a link to the three book series.)  Now she is an author, translator, book reviewer extraordinaire, and she even works at a radio station in her area. I can’t imagine where she finds all the energy. 

However, her books range far beyond the psychiatric theme.  I’m featuring You’re Never Too Old to Be a Prom Queen.

I asked Olga if she had any pictures of the radio station.  She didn’t, but she went above and beyond, and asked the station management for permission to take some shots inside 103.2 FM Sants 3 Radio in Spain.  Thank you, Olga, for sending these photos. 

To be honest, I expected these photos to inspire something set completely in a radio station.  However, in the ever-twisting paths of my mind other things came into play.  No pun intended. This story is a little off-beat — as usual.  (Was that a pun?  I seem to be punning despite myself.)

The story takes place in a fictional version of Chillicothe, Ohio.  Another city is mentioned, but “the name has been changed to protect the innocent.”  Let’s join Béda and her friend River.

The Radio Dial

Photo credit Olga Núñez Miret
Photo credit Olga Núñez Miret

The coffee maker kicked on and started sputtering.  That favorite aroma wafted to my nose as I got out of bed.  My reminder chirped, “Get up, Béda.”  I went to the kitchen where I had left breakfast-related items set up and waiting for me.  Planned, orderly, and ordinary.

That probably sounds boring, but it’s how I liked it — predictable.  I turned on the radio, just as the weather forecast played.  It was a perfectly ordinary day.

“Today in the greater Scioto River Valley, the dry trend continues.  Here in Chillicothe, you can expect lots of sun, with a high of 86 degrees,” the meteorologist chanted in a monotone voice.

Good, I thought.  No need to worry about what to wear or umbrellas.

As we had planned a week before, I met up with my friend River.  She took me through a tour of the radio station where she had started working the year before.  She had left my name at the front desk, and the receptionist told me to “go on up.”

River and another announcer were behind a glass window in one of the intriguing little rooms.  Spotting me, she waved hello.  She held up one finger to signal that she would be out in a moment.

“Maybe it’s not as high-tech as NASA, but it’s ‘home.’  We’re a small, independent station,” she remarked as I stared at a control panel.

Photo credit Olga Núñez Miret
Photo credit Olga Núñez Miret

“I wouldn’t know.  It all seems modern to me,” I replied and asked a series of questions about how things worked.  “I guess my questions were obvious, but I think it’s all fascinating.”

“You’ve gotten awfully quiet,” River started, looking at me perceptively.  “I was afraid this would stir up memoires for you.  Are you okay, Béda?”

“Memories?  You know I just get quiet sometimes.  I’m fine, and I’m really enjoying looking around the station,” I said.  “We should have done this sooner.”

Oddly, for a moment I didn’t understand what she meant.  I had never been inside a radio station, so I didn’t have any memories to stir.  Then I had a duh-moment.

“Oh, him,” I muttered when consciousness caught up with my subconscious.  “Honestly, that was just a fling.  I haven’t thought about it in ages.”

River’s eyes narrowed and she smirked.  Then she shook her head and chuckled.

Just a fling, my rear-end.  You moped around for months when ‘Hotwire’ ran off.  Let’s get some fresh air.  A retro shop just opened up at the end of the block,” she suggested.

Hotwire had been a popular radio announcer, over a decade ago.  Although he didn’t exactly run off — he disappeared altogether.  Granted, radio personalities regularly changed their names when they moved to new cities, but I had never heard of anyone similar to Hotwire.  Regardless, I wrote him off and had not thought about him in years.

Photo credit Olga Núñez Miret
Photo credit Olga Núñez Miret

The electronic bell pinged as River opened the door to the shop filled with vintage items.  Glancing over her shoulder as she entered the store, she caught my expression.

“They have some fun stuff.  Come on,” she encouraged me, seeming to follow where my mind went with the modern bell.  “I know you’d rather browse antiques, but the retro things are cool too.”

Maybe it was because those memories had been brought to the front of my mind, but a piece of vintage electronics caught my eye.  It was an old boombox radio-cassette player, exactly like the one I had in the 80s.  Later models were rounded and sleeker, but mine was second-hand.  It was all hard edges and sharp corners, but I had held it by that uncomfortable handle that went all the way across the top and carried it everywhere I went.

I ran my finger across it, lost in thought.  It had horizontal row of numbers where the several red “needles” could slide across, depending on what kind of channel you wanted.  An array of twisty knobs and push-buttons went across the top.  I remembered that it took a strong finger to press those buttons.  On the front were two big round speakers with, of course, the cassette slot between them.

1980s Boombox cassette Wikipedia
1980s Boombox, Wikipedia

“Oh no,” River murmured, catching up with me.  “My station tour really did send you on a walk down memory lane.  Are you going to buy it?” she asked.

I only nodded mutely, as if mesmerized.  Finally, I cleared my throat and answered.  River held a vintage Tang pitcher, made by Anchor Hocking, which she would purchase.

“All sales final, lady.  No returns if it doesn’t work,” the clerk croaked at me with a skeptical look at the radio.  “Some people from out of state dropped off a boxful of stuff.  Ohio, I think.  So, you wouldn’t be able to get anything back.”

I didn’t care whether it worked or not.  I was caught up in my own nostalgia.

After I got home and eventually started to unwind for the evening, I took out the boombox.

“A silly waste of money.  What was I thinking?”

The machine would work by electric or battery.  Amazingly it was intact, with the electric cord tucked into a compartment at the back.  I plugged it into the wall outlet.  It was no surprise when I wasn’t able to pick up any channels.  I never could get more that garbled phrases intermixed with static, even with modern equipment.  I turned off the offensive noise.

Hold on… Is that a cassette left in the slot?  The clerk said I wouldn’t be able to reach the past owner, so I hoped it wasn’t anything sentimental.  Feeling like a voyeur, I rewound the tape and played it.

About ten minutes later I picked up the phone to call River.

“Hi, River.  Are you able to listen to something for me?  I think I might be going nuts,” I started, feeling foolish.

“Actually, not at the moment.  I’m just finishing up taking some photos for the station,” she began and then suddenly gasped.  “Don’t tell me this is about that boombox?  I’m not far from your place.  I could come by when I finish.  I can be there in fifteen minutes or so.”

Soon, River and I sat in my living room.  We stared at the boombox as though it might bite or grow a tail.

Image by Teagan
Image by Teagan

“Béda, this is a little scary.  You didn’t find a recording of a murder or anything did you?” she asked, only half joking.

“Worse,” I muttered sardonically.  “It’s him, Hotwire, aka Jack Early.

“But how—” she stopped before finishing the question.

I inserted the cassette and pressed the old resistant buttons.  The machine made the soft hissing sound I had forgotten about as the tape began to play.

“Béda, have you ever wondered…  Wondered whatever became of me?” the voice I had never expected to hear again started.

“That really is him!” River exclaimed and I paused the tape.  “Of course, you know better though.  But he was so popular, and his voice is unmistakable.  No, you certainly are not going nuts!”

“That’s not all,” I said and turned the machine on again.

“I was in your town recently and spotted you in a restaurant,” Jack’s voice explained.  “I wanted to talk to you, but I chickened out.  I’m not sure if this tape will make its way to you, but you never know,” I could hear the shrug in his tone and it was as if I had only seen him yesterday.

“I never expected fame.  I just liked playing records.  All the sudden popularity overwhelmed me.  I couldn’t deal with the bedlam, and I ran.  I know that’s a stupid excuse.  I thought of you a thousand times as I moved from city to city, up and down the dial,” the recording went on.  “But I kept telling myself that maybe you and me were never meant to be.  And I hoped that just maybe you’d think of me once in awhile.”

“Heading up that highway and leaving you behind was about the hardest thing I ever did.  It broke my heart in two, but Béda, pay no mind.  The price for finding me was losing you.  Or that’s what I told myself.”

Erik McLean, Unsplash
Erik McLean, Unsplash

There was a brief moment of blank space on the tape.  Just when I thought it was broken, he continued.

“Finally, I got kinda tired of packin’ and unpackin’ and moving from town to town, up and down the dial.  I dropped the DJ act and became a station manager.  If you think that maybe you and me were never meant to be, then I understand.  But if you ever wondered whatever became of me…  I’m at WKR3 in Cirrostrati.”

River and I were both silent for a long moment.  She looked at me, as if she tried to navigate the flows of my thoughts.

“What are you going to do?” she asked.

Suddenly irritated at the whole thing I shrugged.

“What kind of game is he playing?” I fumed.  “I was never enamored of Hotwire,” I said his radio moniker with a sneer, but then got myself under control.  “As much as I hate to admit it, all those years ago, I probably would have chased after Jack Early, not Hotwire — if I’d had any idea where to look.  Now…”

“If he’s a station manager in Cirrostrati now, I’m sure I could find out about him,” River offered.  “Not a full background check, but I could at least find out whether he’s married or involved.  And I have airline miles if you want someone to go along for moral support and see for yourself.”

“He’s the one who left.  I’m not being stubborn, but I’ve got a right to be distrustful.  The ‘once in awhile’ thing isn’t enough,” I replied glumly.  “He apparently knows where to find me, and I’m in the phonebook.  I think he needs to be the one to come to me.”

“Or, you could throw it back into the hands of fate,” River remarked, and I asked what she meant.  “We could go to Cirrostrati for a mini-vacation, and see if your paths happen to cross.”

Fate, smate,” I said rolling my eyes.  “Next thing I know, you’ll be telling me to look for a sign.”

“Okay, okay.  I really do understand.  I know this has been bizarre and stressful for you.  Why don’t we order some delivery from the Chinese restaurant, and watch some TV?” River suggested.

Image collage by Teagan
Image collage by Teagan

With Moo Goo Gai Pan and Singapore rice noodles on the way, I turned on the television.  Since I didn’t watch a lot of TV, I had no idea what would be on at that moment.  I was about to click over to my usual, when an old rerun came onto the screen.

The end of a long-forgotten theme song rang out…

“But Baby, think of me once in awhile…  I’m at WKR3 in Cirrostrati.”

The end.

♣ ♣ ♣

What does Béda do? Nothing, because she wrote-off Jack and she’s done?  Make the discrete visit to “Cirrostrati” and see what fate does?  Or will she boldly look him up with River’s help?  With some stories, I like for the reader to make up their own mind and this is one of them.

Also, here’s the full version of the theme song.

Since Béda went down memory lane, I’m featuring one of my older books, Thistledown, Midsummer Bedlam.  It’s a tale of faeries which was written for grownups, but it has whimsy for all ages.

Thistledown - Midsummer Bedlam. New cover by Teagan R. Geneviene

Universal Purchase Links

Kindle:  relinks.me/B082RFN9GF

Paperback:  relinks.me/1675233632

♣ ♣ ♣

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.  I love to hear from you, so friendly comments are encouraged. Hugs on the wing!

♣ ♣ ♣

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2022 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or used with permission, or from free sources.


48 thoughts on “Shorts for the Weekend — The Radio Dial, featuring Olga Núñez Miret

  1. I kept thinking Jack’s dialog sounded familiar, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen WKRP and I’ve never heard the full version (thank you for that!). I think Beda made a mix tape of their favorite songs with a message saying she DOES think of him once in a while and he’s welcome to look her up, then she mails it to a random address in Cirrostrati with no identifying information on the tape or the envelope. If it finds its way to him, the ball is in his court. I love happy endings, so of course all turns out perfectly. Maybe the person at the random address and River fall in love and live happily ever after, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Ms. Frances. Thank you so very much. No, this one will not continue. I’m trying to do “one-off” short stories for a while before I move on with a new serial (with 3 things from readers).
      By the way, I loved your podcast video with Rebecca! It was fascinating and your descriptions brought everything to life. ❤ Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Teagan you are certainly extending yourself with these stories. I think she will seek Jack out because humans can’t help themselves in these sorts of situations. They glamorise them and build the whole romance up into something far beyond what it really was. Jack will probably be tubby, balding and nothing like she imagined. Hehe Reach for a dream 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. I have known people to get images in their mind that are miles away from the truth. I’m glad I left this one open ended, because what I was going to write is the opposite of what everyone is saying. Thanks for spending so much time here today, Robbie. Hugs on the wing.

      Like

  3. Reblogged this on Just Olga and commented:
    Thanks to Teagan Geneviene​ for featuring some of my pictures in her story. The radio theme takes the story in a pretty unusual direction. If you love “will she” “won’t she” stories, don’t dare to miss this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks, Teagan. I’m so happy my pictures inspired such a wonderful story. I am a fan of open endings, I see all kinds of references to other stories, and I also remember the series, which was a favourite of mine even before I ever got any personal connection to a radio station, so this works on so many levels. Thanks for the promo as well, Teagan. I wish I was as multitalented as you are, but one never knows what we can discover next. Big hugs and have a fabulous weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I beg to differ, Olga — you’re the talented one. We’ll just have to call this a mutual admiration society. ^^’
      WKRP really was a great show. I was in my teens (and my natural hair color was light blonde) but I was already sick of dumb blonde characters and jokes. When they made Jennifer a smart blonde and Bailey a determined reporter rather than a file clerk or something, I was hooked.
      Thanks again for your photos and the trouble you took to get them. Have a great time at your event this weekend. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, a mutual admiration society works for me, if you insist. And no trouble at all, Teagan. My boss at Sants 3 Ràdio is very nice, but he’s always so busy that the biggest difficulty was finding him to be able to ask. And thanks. The event was great and I hope they get a big turnout during the rest of the weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This was fun, Teagan. I love the mysterious “by chance” connection to the past. I also like her attitude at the end. I have to think more about it, but right now, I’m thinking she shoves that boom box in the closet.

    Happy Saturday! I hope you have a nice easy weekend. Maybe watch some reruns. I did like that show.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your ending choice seems to be in very much the minority, Dan. But I have to admit you are closest to what I almost wrote. Reading the comments, I’m glad I left it open ended… Jack would have to do a lot more than leave a recorded note that may or may not have even reached her. But that’s just me, and I got over “romance” stories a long, long time ago.
      Yes, I think a lazy day is in order. I’ve been pushing my back too hard attacking the weeds. An easy weekend to you too. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind — thank you. I had not thought about it going farther, but I can imagine a scenario with it turning out Jack had been kidnapped after making the recording, if she went looking for him. Although Beda would only go looking under a lot of protest. LOL.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooo! Terrific intro, Chris. I’m glad you asked people to state their ending of choice. That’s fun. Although after reading comments, I can see that it’s a good thing I left the story open ended (considering how I would have ended it). 😀 Hugs to you, the missus, and all the naughty chimps.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.