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Station Management (episode)

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 “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 and Waterfront Recreation Area. The stadium will be able to seat 50,000 but will be closed all nights of the year except November 10th, for the annual Parade of the Mysterious Hooded Figures, in which all of our favorite ominous Hooded Figures —

  • The 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 a reason 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 echo-y space for the other meaningless 364 days of the year.

Here at the radio station it’s contract negotiation season with the Station Managment 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 retraining session in the Dark Box. Ugh. But what can I say? I’m a reporter at heart. I can’t not report.

Oh! My…

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 marked 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 over by our own Night Vale 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 at the Car Lot, who crouched behind their 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 contracts 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 will 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 in 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 Musk Road, with the red and white spinning pole and the sign that says, "Telly’s”. Telly is about 5'9" with a small mustache and a thick pot belly. He talks with an accent and sneers. Telly the Barber cut Carlos’s beautiful hair. According to reports.


Now, while I gather myself, let’s have a look at traffic.

Oh, wow!
Well, that looks pretty good.
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.

[Cecil's voice turns hesitant and fearful]

I don’t ask favors much, dear listeners – that you know. But I’m 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. There 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 content 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.

[Ominous noise in the background]

Oh! Um - I’m sorry dear listeners. We’ll be back after this word from our sponsors:

[Ominous music stops and Cecil's voice is now cheery]

This segment has been brought to us by Big Rico's Pizza.

Listeners, we are proud to have Big Rico’s as a sponsor of our show. You will not find a better pizza joint in all of Night Vale then Big Rico’s.

Just the other night, I stopped by Big Rico’s. I was in the mood for a delicious pizza slice. And since Big Rico’s is the only pizza place in Night Vale that has not burnt to the ground in an unsolved arson case - and did I mention is also the best pizza in town - I ordered a single Rico’s slice with two authentic toppings. And boy, was I satisfied. The flavor was scrumptious. The taste was also scrumptious. And it was warm, the pizza slice.

I have been told that even the Hooded Figures eat there; the wait staff look like they avert their hollow gazes quite a bit. Even the City Council offers its ringing endorsement of Big Rico’s.

All Night Vale citizens are mandated to eat at Big Rico’s once a week. It is a misdemeanor not to.

Big Rico’s Pizza. No one does a slice like Big Rico, folks! No one.

[Ominous music resumes and Cecil whispers fearfully into his microphone]

And now, sweet, sweet listeners… the weather.

[Bill and Annie by Chuck Brodsky]

[Cecil whispers shakily while monster noises are played in the background]

Hello, radio audience.

I come to you live from under my desk, where I've dragged my microphone and am currently hiding in the fetal position. Did you write letters? Then you should not do this anymore. Station management has opened its door for the first time in my memory, and is now roaming the building. I don’t know exactly what management looks like, as that is when I took cover under my desk and I can only hope that they are not listening to what’s going out right now or else I may have sealed my fate. I can hear only a kind of clicking footstep, and faint hissing sound like – releasing steam.

An intern went to see what management wanted and has not returned. If you are related to Jerry Hartman, afternoon board operator at Night Vale Community Radio, I am sorry to inform you that he is probably dead or at least corporeally absorbed into management permanently!

Jerry and Chad the interns will both be missed. But we will surely see them in the Thanksgiving Day Dead Citizens Impersonation Contest, which this year will be in the employee lounge under the Night Vale Mall from 11:00 AM to 9:45 PM. There will be a cash bar and two Twister boards.

[Gasp] I am going to see if I can make a break for the door. If you don’t hear from me again, it has truly been a pleasure.

Good night, Night Vale. And goodbye!

Today’s proverb: There’s a special place in Hell. It’s really hip. Very exclusive.

Glow Cloud (episode)
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PTA Meeting