He had the SUV’s abnormally sensitive AM radio tuned to a frequency well between the powerful nearby and clear channel stations.
He sat with a fine view of a mid-January sunset over Satchyayuga County, waiting for his wife to emerge from her yoga class. It was the time of day when the distant stations started to echo in.
He’d once pulled in KMOX on the skip and listened to seventeen innings of Cardinals baseball driving east across Adirondack State Park. That had been when Jack Buck was still calling them and the signal just got better and better until he felt he was practically at the game and he remembered how incredible he found it when he finally pulled into Arkhampton… game still tied! He’d sat in this very seat, after quietly procuring a couple of beers from the fridge, and listened the rest of the game out. They went 20.
The radio hissed and crackled with fuzzy surges that spoke of weather somewhere… where? At sea? To the southwest?
It also spoke, in scraps of phrase and sometimes, in tongues foreign to him, some Spanish, some Quebecois, even, perhaps, now layering over, religious talk in… Russian? Polish? These smaller sources came in and out… impossible to pin the blame on… sabor autentico… polozhenie serioznye… newsradio nine-ten traffic and weather… intercalated with fuff and zap and zeeee and fevv and pop and quirt and the warble that never ceases but only jumps a few Hertz and then back, “tweeks” and “sferics” to the radio enlightened, generated by lightning God-knows-where and the bow shock of the earth’s magnetosphere slapped by solar wind.
Le President des les Etats-Unis… con Sunoco… Dorogoi Bok… and the Mayor scolded…
The sun was fragmenting behind distant conifers crowning the distant hills on the horizon. Penny’s class was running over. It would darken quickly, now. Venus, low, already gleamed in the sky.
He kept listening. He wanted to be listening when it happened. Whatever was going to happen.
Ah. Penny emerged. She sure was pretty.
Maybe, just maybe, a nice dinner might happen, he was thinking.
He turned off the murmurs. Most of them.