The sun has grown so very, very old. How long cold, fading death? How long? Welcome to Night Vale.
Our top story: last night's Night Vale PTA meeting ended in bloodshed, as a rift in space-time split open in the Main Street Recreation Center Auditorium, setting loose several confused and physically aggressive Pteranodons. The glowing portal remained open and shrieked incessantly, an unholy sound that witnesses say resembled noisy urchin children caught in a combine harvester, and then slowed down and amped up through some kind of open source, easy-to-use audio editing software. The Pteranodons mostly attacked women with glasses. Authorities are still unsure why, as Night Vale's only flying dinosaur expert, Joel Eisenberg, still has not recovered from last year's bout with throat spiders. It took most of an hour to corral the panicked beasts back into the vortex and resume the meeting, which had mostly been upon recent lunchroom price hikes, and had devolved into name calling because Susan Willman called Diane Crayton's son Josh 'a bit tubby,' and that 'maybe he needs a financial incentive to eat less.' In this reporter's opinion, Susan Willman is dangerously obsessed with the New York Times bestselling Freakonomics books. Dangerously so. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed in the incident, although experts from Timothy's Auditorium Repair Contractors Inc. estimate close to $50,000 in damage has been done to the Rec Center Auditorium—and that cost includes free storm windows and a complementary seasonal installation consultation.
It's election season again, and you know what that means! Sheriff's Secret Police will be coming by to collect certain family members so that everyone votes for the correct council seats and there's no confusion. These family members will be held in a secure and undisclosed location, which everyone knows is the abandoned mine shaft outside of town. But, don't let the name fool you, listeners: it's been used for years for so many kidnappings and illegal detentions that the abandoned mine shaft outside of town is actually a pretty nice location these days, featuring king-sized beds, free Wi-Fi, and HBO. Also torture cubicles, but I don't think anyone's going to make the council use those. Remember, this is America. Vote correctly, or never see your loved ones again. This message brought to you by the City Council.
The Night Vale Daily Journal today announced that, due to the recent economic downturn, they will start running ads on the front page. Any business interested in running on of these Platinum Premium Ads should contact editor Leann Hart. Hart mentioned that they have also created a write-your-own-news-story program for interested citizens. Because every writer has been laid off, the Daily Journal now needs these community contributions to supply Night Vale with important news and features. The first Platinum Premium Ad runs next Monday and features the terrified face of an infant primate with a superimposed spoon that has been stone-sharpened to a rough point, and the tagline 'Better Use Tide.' Hart also said that last year's explosion that decimated the Daily Journal's distribution plant is still totally an accident, and would like her insurance rep to call her back. Please. Call her back.
This just came across the wire: the Secret Police have issued a new statement shedding more light onto last night's PTA meeting incident. The noisy portal and subsequent dinosaur attack, that brutally interrupted discussion of swing set repairs on the elementary school playground, stayed open long after Recreation Center employees thought they had rounded up all of the ancestral avian beasts, and authorities warn that there is still at least one more Pteranodon on the loose. Citizens should cover themselves with a low-SPF sunscreen and hide in a tiled bathroom.
Several curious handball players in the court next to the auditorium actually popped their heads into the portal just to see what was on the other side of the vortex and came back dramatically changed. The players aged several thousand years in what bystanders experienced as only a few seconds. Those handball players now straddle the unenviable border of millennially wizened and cripplingly insane. Since psychologically and emotional damages are no longer considered valid claims by the greater medical insurance community, we are still reporting zero injuries. We'll update you as further details surface in our special ongoing and very special coverage of Pteranodon Attack Gate. Are we safe from dinosaurs? No way.
City Council has asked me to read the following message:
If you notice strange auras around any of the following objects in your house: blender, showerhead, dog, husband, wife, table, chair, doorknob, baseboard, vacation souvenirs or photos, collectibles of any kind, especially those depicting or involving horses, DVDs, especially Cliffhanger, There's Something About Mary, and The Wire 4thseason, and any bagged lettuce from California or Mexico, please, report to the council for indefinite detention.
Speaking of the City Council, it voted this week to remove the large, lead-plated door from the northeastern-most crook of Radon Canyon. You know, the area pulsing with green light and soto voce basso humming. Proponents of the measure said the large yellow emblem and red lettering that spelled out 'DANGER. PLUTONIUM. DO NOT OPEN DOOR. RISK OF DEATH' were at worst an offensive eyesore and, at best, a hacky sci-fi cliché. Many Night Vale citizens attended the meeting, including, it was said, several angels—although no angel is admitted to have been present for the city council meeting or any other event ever, for that matter. Old Woman Josie agreed with the measure, adding that lead is a health hazard and that the old door was nothing but a ticking time bomb. According to the meeting minutes, Josie said, "That old door. Oooooohhhhh, that door. Someone's gonna get some kind of lead poisoning."
Carlos, beautiful Carlos, tragically shorn of his locks, reportedly was the only dissenting voice—but it is not clear he actually opposed the measure, as the minutes only report him stating, "There is no time. No more time," into a black rectangle in his hand, and then running, winded, from the community hall. According to Old Woman Josie, he was still absolutely perfect and smelled of lavender chewing gum.
More breaking news on the Pteranodons. We humbly offer the following retractions from our previous reports:
Secret Police are now reporting that the offending beasts were not Pteranodons after all, but pterodactyls. Also, Pteranodons aren't even dinosaurs as this station previously stated, just winged reptiles that lived about seventy million years after pterodactyls. Finally, earlier we reported a death toll of zero, when in fact the number is closer to 38. We regret these errors.
It's almost football season, and the Night Vale Scorpions are gearing up for a defense of the high school division title. But really, as long as we beat Desert Bluffs, fans and hooded figures alike will feel just fine. Coach Nazr al-Mujaheed told reporters he's particularly excited for the progress junior quarterback Michael Sandero made during the off-season after that sentient lightning bolt struck him and give him the strength of two jeeps and the intelligence of a heavily concussed Rene Descartes. But, if Night Vale is going to beat their bitter rivals this year, and stave off the government-administered pestilence the follows a losing season record, Sandero will have to improve his accuracy. Last year, Sandero only completed two out of 130 pass attempt—most notably, because he was in advanced staged of cerebral palsy, and because his throwing hand had been removed due to several overdue library books. Apparently, the off-season lightning strike had healed Sandero of his terminal ailments and court-ordered amputations, and he's ready to take on Desert Bluffs, which is probably the worst team ever. God. They're dreadful.
And now, an editorial.
Let's talk for a moment about apartment building etiquette. Now, I myself live in an apartment building, and there is a compassion and acceptance you have to have for a certain level of annoyance. It's people in close proximity to each other, and so there will be some things that you don't like, and still, have to let go. But, other things are absolutely unacceptable! For instance, a certain level of strange radiating light or heat on shared walls is expected, but any oozings or visible membranes are rude and thoughtless to all of your neighbors. Gibbering, howling, and chants in long-dead languages are the kind of thing that is fine at 1 pm, but absolutely not fine at 1 am. We are all in this together. Put your trash in the cans! Not in the hallway leading to the cans. Put on some clothes when standing in front of your windows, and keep any rituals or crazed experiments to hours in which no one is trying to sleep. It doesn't have to be hard.
We have a very unexpected treat today, dear listeners. Live in the studio we have one of the mysterious hooded figures often seen around town. We did not actually invite him here; he just was waiting for us when we unlocked the studio this morning. He has not moved, nor spoken since then, and I'll be honest: I am only guessing that he is a he, because physical attributes are hard to determine under these robes, and the face is entirely hidden in shadow as empty and as black as the void of space. But hey, we're doing radio! He's in a radio station. Let's see if we can get an interview.
Mr. Hooded Figure, how are you doing today?
Huh! Okay. Care to comment on the recent expansion of the forbidden dog park?
Any comments at all? Anything you'd like to tell the ordinary folk of Night Vale about your organization?
-static getting louder-
Listeners, I'm sure you can here this. It's not a problem with your radio or our transmitters. The hooded figure is making those noises in our studio. It's pretty deafening, actually. Alright! I don't think he's going to stop, and he's started to levitate, so, let's go to the weather.
[Closer by The Tiny]
Ladies and gentlemen, we have just received word from Secret Police that the rip in space-time that opened at last night's PTA meeting has been sealed at last. The final missing pterodactyl has been returned to its own timeline in either prehistoric or alternate universe Night Vale. The creature's lifeless body was found a dozen yards outside of the dog park entrance, stripped of all flesh, and with most of the organs inverted and strung around its exposed skull, like an old fashioned soft meats crown, as worn by the 18th-century religious leaders who settled our fair burgh. The dinosaur's body was returned to the vortex, the gateway closed, and the PTA meeting rescheduled for next Tuesday at 6 pm. That meeting will continue to address the important issue of backpacks, and whether or not they are causing autism. There will also be a memorial service for the 38 parents and teachers who lost their lives in the attack, followed by a raffle. Remember, winners must be present at the time of the drawing to claim their prizes.
City Council and Secret Police have issued a reminder that Night Vale citizens of all species and all geologic eras are not to enter, look at, or think too long about the dog park. This reminder, they say, is completely unrelated to anything that may or may not have happened today.
Coming up next, stay tuned for our one-hour special, "Morse Code for Trumpet Quintets." And listeners, Night Vale is an ancient place, full of history and secrets...as we were reminded today. But it is also a place of the present moment, full of life, and of us. If you can hear my voice speaking live, then you know: we are not history yet. We are happening now. How miraculous is that.
Goodnight, listeners. Goodnight.
Today’s proverb: What has four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening? I don’t know, but I trapped it in my bedroom. Send help.
Station Management (episode)
The Shape in Grove Park (episode)