16.1 – The Phone Call

Your existence is not impossible, but it’s also not very likely. Welcome to Night Vale.

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16.2 – The Phone Call

In light of the ever-declining sales of newspapers, and the rise of competition from digital media, the Night Vale Daily Journal announced that it has developed a new business model. Publishing editor Leanne Hart, speaking to television and internet reporters outside the burned-down shell of the Journal’s former distribution plant, said their new mission, as a newspaper, is to kill newsbloggers with hatchets.

In this bold new initiative, a game-changing strategy by one of the industry stalwarts, the Daily Journal plans to just go to bloggers’ homes and places of employment with hatchets and then chop them up – the bloggers – until they – the bloggers – are dead. She added that the Journal still plans to use the AP Style Guide and they are working to design a newer, more modern-looking masthead. Several Journal reporters and ad reps then began swinging blades at the non-print reporters in attendance.

16.3 – The Phone Call

The Sheriff’s Secret Police is issuing an urgent message to all citizens. ATTENTION ALL CITIZENS. Memorize this list. Memorize it now. It will not now, nor ever, be repeated. Memorize this now for your safety and protection. We cannot tell you when or where you will need to know it, but when you do, you will be safe. Here is the list. Memorize… NOW.

  • hazelnut
  • mystify
  • cuttlefish
  • lark
  • lurk
  • Robert
  • Anglican
  • pheromone halter-top marmalade hardware laser pepper release kneecap falafel period chase chaste leggings wool sweater heartbeat heartbeat heart beat
  • heart
  • …beat
  • beat
  • beat
  • beat
  • beat

Memorize that list, citizens! In order. Secret Police warn that if you miss even one word, or transpose a couple of worlds like ‘lurk’ and ‘lark’, there could be unpleasant consequences. This has been a special announcement from the Sheriff’s Secret Police.

16.4 – The Phone Call

Listeners, guess who called me this weekend. Well, hey, I don’t like to talk too much about my personal life here. This is your community news station, not Cecil’s Personal Life Station, right? Okay, fine. I’ll just say it.

Carloooos!

Carlos, the dark, delicate-skinned scientist who came into our little town and our littler hearts several months ago. Well, I gave him my home phone number quite a while back, and he never called, and I didn’t think anything of it, right? I mean, sometimes people just don’t call, and that’s okay.

Well, to the point: Carlos called, and I’m like, ‘Hellooo?’ Like I don’t even have caller ID, and he’s like ‘I need to talk to you. This is important.’ And I’m like, ‘Ummm, okay.’ I mean, that’s pretty forward, right, listeners? But I can’t tell exactly what he wants yet! And he said ‘Cecil.’ Just the sound of his caramel voice. ‘Cecil,’ he says. ‘Cecil. I think time is slowing down in Night Vale,’ and then I said, after a slow sip of Armagnac, ‘Ohhhh?’

And perfect Carlos said, ‘Last week, seven days, twenty four hours each day, sixty minutes in each hour. That’s ten thousand eighty minutes in a week, right?’

‘Uh-huh. Go on!’ I said, trying to sound like someone with a normal pulse whose palms were not sweating.

‘Well, I ran some figures, and during that same amount of time in Night Vale, eleven thousand seven hundred eighty-three minutes elapsed everywhere else in the world. That’s more than a full day longer. I don’t know what’s happening.’

So that’s what Carlos said! Listeners, what do you think? I feel like time always slows down when we’re together, Carlos and I. Is that what he’s trying to say? I feel that way too!

But I didn’t say it, I just said, ohh, this is bad… I just said, ‘Neat!’ Ugh. How embarrassing. I mean, Carlos is sooo smart, and he says sooo many smart things! And I’m not dumb! I like science and municipally-approved books just as much as the next guy, so I can’t believe that’s all I could say to him. ‘Neat.’ But I did manage to ask if he wanted to get together sometime, and talk some more about this really fascinating subject. He said no, but he needed me to help get the word out and see if anyone has noticed a massive time-shift, so that’s what I’m doing now. Anything for the scientific community. I’m very into science these days.

Wow! Can you believe he called me?

16.5 – The Phone Call

Update on the impending invasion from the underground city: the Sheriff’s Secret Police has reviewed Teddy Williams’ grainy security footage from the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex, and they say that the nearly-indiscernible grey blotch making a slight movement near the cheese dispenser definitely proves that a lost city is moving toward war with Night Vale.

A balaclava-clad man wearing a mitre, cloak, and a giant silver star, and speaking through a vocoder – you know, the man we all believe to be the Sheriff of Night Vale? – announced this morning that all citizens should prepare their town for war. This includes: fortifying porches with sandbags, training children to detect landmines, and not taking off our gas masks for meals, even though it is considered polite.

We talked with Teddy himself. He told us that during last night’s league bowling tournament, the jukebox malfunctioned, and would not stop playing “Mister Brownstone”. Teddy says this could be a code, some kind of threatening message, or maybe even a subtle call for peace. He also asked that Night Vale citizens learn their shoe sizes. Shoe rentals are taking way too long, and it’s really not that hard to memorize a one- or two-digit number.

16.6 – The Phone Call

The Sheriff’s Secret Police also asks Night Vale residents to please help in their neighborhood watch program. Secret Police are in every neighborhood, watching everybody, so here are some tips on how you can help this invaluable community surveillance program.

  1. Keep all windows open during clement weather, and if you must close them during rain, dust, or coal storms, please keep them clean, and stand near them, so cameras and microphones can clearly identify you.
  2. When having any private conversation, whether via phone or with those in your home, turn down the TV and radio to cut down on noise pollution. Also, please try to keep your conversations lively. Maybe some local gossip, or polarizing sports opinions. Too much boring talk about plans for your garden, or where to buy good laser discs, can make the Secret Police tired, and less effective at their jobs.
  3. Do not wear tinfoil hats. This hackneyed technique doesn’t work at all. Helicopters could mind-scan you through twenty feet of lead. You shouldn’t wear these homemade hats because it draws unnecessary attention to yourself. It’s pathetic and paranoid. The Secret Police are embarrassed for you.

And as always, if you see something, say ‘Something.’ That’s the code word to call a special raid on a neighbor or stranger. If you see something, say the word ‘something’.

16.7 – The Phone Call

Now, in the news.  After several months of protests from ordinary Night Vale citizens of stout and sturdy character, the City Council has announced several improvements for the public library.  These improvements are the following: an entrance is being constructed at the front of the building, so we will no longer have to enter by waking up between two shelves in a dizzy haze, unsure of how we got there, and then wandering around, trapped, until we wake with a start in our own beds, covered with sweat, and with a few books we checked out on our nightstand.  Drinking fountains are being installed in the lobby, as well as dunking chambers, and a state-of-the-art fainting pool.  Librarian repellent dispensers are being placed throughout the building.  Remember, if approached by a librarian, keep still.  Do not run away.  Try to make yourself bigger than the librarian. Finally, the children’s section is getting beanbag chairs.  That is all.

Is it?

Yes!

But is it?

Yes.

16.8 – The Phone Call

And now, traffic. All roads lead to somewhere, and all roads come from somewhere. And in between they are a snarl and curve, a twist and a bend. Where are we going? I mean, metaphorically? Where are we coming from? I mean, literally. Is it possible to stop, or turn around, and if not, what does that mean for the latest polls and economic reports? Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, Route 800 is looking clear in both directions. The old dirt road to the small wooden shack is backed up at least thirty minutes. There. Now you know. Has that filled an emptiness for you? Are you any happier now? I hope so. This has been, and will always be, traffic.

16.9 – The Phone Call

Listeners, I can hardly stand it any longer. During the past few stories, my phone has been silently buzzing. You guessed who! Given that I am a radio host and it is therefore my duty to read you the news, it would be completely inappropriate for me to answer my phone regardless of how much I want to soak my ears in the oaky tones of our community’s most significant outsider. But. Well. He left me some voicemails. This may be a bit unorthodox, but I need your help, dear listeners, to determine where Carlos is going with all of this! Let’s listen to these together, okay? What do you think he’s trying to say?

First saved message:

[Carlos:]
Cecil, sorry to bother you. I need you to get the word out that clocks in Night Vale are not real. I have not found a single real clock. I have disassembled several watches and clocks this week and all of them are hollow inside. No gears, no crystal, no battery or power source. Some of them actually contain a gelatinous grey lump that seems to be growing hair, and teeth. I need to know if all clocks are this way, Cecil. This is ve –

[whispering] There’s something at my door, Cecil. I need to go, okay? I’ll call you back in… well, I don’t know.

End of message.

Next message:

[Carlos whispering:]
There’s a man in a jacket holding a leather suitcase outside my door, Cecil. He’s not knocking, he’s just standing in front of my door. I can’t make out his face. I’m peering through a crack in the living room blinds. – Oh no, he saw me!

End of message.

Next message:

[Carlos:]
Sorry about that, Cecil. I forget what I was doing. I think somebody came over, but I don’t remember who or what for. Anyway, I need to meet you. Are you free tomorrow afternoon? You have a contact number for the mayor and someone with the police, right? It’s important that I find them, and again, can you get the word out on your radio show about the clocks?

End of message.

Did you hear that, listeners? A date! Let’s go to the weather!

[“Those Days Are Gone And My Heart Is Breaking” by Barton Carroll.]

16.10 – The Phone Call

Well, I just got off the phone with Carlos, listeners, and we have a date! Tomorrow afternoon. It’s just coffee, but maybe it’s more! Maybe lots more. Who knows? You know, they always say if you’re trying to meet someone, you may never find them, but it’s when you’re not looking, that’s when they find you. I’ve always heard this in reference to government agents, but I think it applies to dating as well.

Carlos did want me to ask if anyone has ever actually seen the Night Vale clock tower. I told him that it was invisible, and always teleporting, and that’s why he can’t ever see it. I mean, that seems sort of obvious. …Okay. That was unfair. Carlos is a very smart man, and I shouldn’t roll my eyes just because he doesn’t comprehend basic architecture. He obviously has a lot of other intriguing interests, though, like clock making! And seismology! And who knows what else. Oh, happy day, listeners! Thanks for listening, and for helping me through this! I’m so very excited.