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 Hart, said that, “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 & Waterfront Recreation area, the stadium will be able to seat 50,000 but will be closed all nights of the year except November 10, for the annual Parade Of The Mysterious Hooded Figures— in which all of our favorite ominous hooded figures, 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 reasons 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 echoing 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 re-training session in The Dark Box. But what can I say? I’m a reporter at heart; I can’t not report.
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 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 by our own local 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 of the car lot, who crouched behind the 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 contract 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 might 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 at 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 Mosque Road, with the red and white spinning pole and the sign that says, “Telly’s.” Telly is about 5’9”, with a small moustache and a thick potbelly. 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. Yes… 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 am 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. Their 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 contents 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.