( From our 2011 Archives. )
This blog has been hostile, and unpleasant for far too long. Granted things suck, and suck real bad too, but that's no reason to be nasty all the time,..mostly.
Anyway I've lately been digging through my papers, and found some stories I'd written in the old daze. I was tinkering with children stories back in the day.
This in particular, *"Radio Nine, and One Half" I did just before 9/11,..I think. I never finished it. It's just two short fragments I still mean to develop.
"Radio 9 1/2"
Once upon a time there was a radio station called "Radio, Nine & a’Half", and it lived on a sandbar called Blue Oyster Reef. This pinch of blue sand was somewhere between the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. I say "somewhere" because from time to time without much warning it liked to move.
Anyhow this radio station was like most others in that it had a tower, a little studio, and microphones. However unlike the others it was powered by bicycle hooked up to an old truck battery. Also the studio had bunk beds, a trampoline, electric trains, a very nice doll house, and a fireplace.
There’s a tree too.
An old elm grew up through the middle of the radio station. The children that live there weren’t sure if the tree was planted in the studio before they were born or if the station was built around it.
Three little kids live on Blue Oyster Reef. They live there, and run the radio station. I’m not sure how they got there or why, but there they are. There they live, and there they're happy to be. Their names are Betty, Toby, and Zuzu, and they’re all nine, and a half. Well actually Betty is nine, and three quarters, but never mind.
This btw is how the station got it’s latest name, Radio 9 ½. The kids had called it other things depending on their moods, and events of the day. For a while it was Radio Dirty Socks when they were too lazy to do the laundry.
It was Radio Bird Doodie that time all them sea gulls showed up, and Radio Pancakes when Zuzu surprised everyone one morning with breakfast in bed on the air. However they settled on Radio 9 ½, and decided to keep it even if they got real old like 16 or something.
Now this radio station Radio 9 ½ is a secret station. It can only be heard by kids. If an old person, say someone 22 or 68 tuned in they would only hear static, but kids would get the real deal.
One of the most popular shows is "Ask Me Anything", which is hosted by Zuzu. She usually does it from a tent on the roof. Toby runs a cable’n mic up there, and she’s good to go.
Kids from all over the City call up, and ask her questions that adults can’t handle. A boy from East 3rd Street on the Lower Eastside called in,...
"Hi Zuzu something’s been bothering me a long time."
"No problem" sez our hero from her roof top wigwam, "What is it?"
"Where do boogers come from?"
To which Zuzu deftly answered, "The Devil!"
"Who invented Summer School?"
Radio 9 ½ does other programs of strong interest to kids. Like serious discussions amongst all three hosts about where farts come from, and more important where do they disappear to.
They give lessons on how to read, and speak backwards. Specials on the different kinds of bugs in your house,..and what to feed them. How to beat up bullies, and still be alive afterward, and what to do if you’re lost, but don’t want to go home right away.
*(Okay that was part of my outline sketch for the idea of the place. What follows is a tentative in the life of the kids on the reef. Consider all this an unsold pilot episode.)
Toby, and Zuzu were sitting on the shore, and eating some of Betty’s fresh baked animal crackers. Betty likes to make yetis, moth-men, two headed unicorns, and other folks that never made it to the Ark. Blue sand between her toes, and starring out at the harbor Zuzu was making noises.
"...Ipp, pip, pip, ipp." She was trying to make up a rabbit language.
"Rabbits wouldn’t talk like that" said Toby.
Zuzu smiled, and offered Toby the back half of a winged elephant, she’d just bitten off the head.
The air was fresh today. The ‘Jersey refineries, and waste plants were down wind for most of the week. That, and the sky was a bluey, blue, and the harbor was sea green. Just like it was before everybody started using it as a toilet.
Toby asked Zuzu,..
"Where were we before we was born?"
Zuzu looked over to Governors Island, and said, "We all comes from Heaven. That’s where everybody lived. Us the animals, maybe the trees, and bugs too."
"How do you know all that? Do you remember?"
"It’s a kind of remembering" said Zuzu. "A remembering, but not exactly. I just know is all."
"See I have this happy feeling in me, can’t help it. I think that’s the part of Heaven I brought with me."
Zuzu looked at Toby. The setting sun made the brass rims of his round glasses bright. The reflection gave each of Toby’s eyes a golden halo.
"Can you remember anything from when you weren’t born?"
Toby thought a moment, a baby crab crawled by his big toe.
He said, "Just before I fall asleep I hear voices,..singing."
"Sometimes it’s far away, sometimes it’s all around, but it’s always there."
Zuzu leaning close, and asked, "What do your voices say, what do they sing?"
"I’m not sure" said Toby bringing his knees up to his chin. "I don’t remember the words. Just that it’s nice, and I always have good dreams afterward."
Toby, and Zuzu sat watching the sun set behind the bright noisy island of Manhattan.
"Your voices,..that’s the part of Heaven ‘you’ kept said Zuzu."
A blimp shaped like a winged cat, and advertising pet cloning passed over the Brooklyn Bridge, and headed for Times Square.