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The Librarian

Cecil: If wishes were horses,those wishes would all run away, shrieking and bucking, terrified of a great unseen evil.

Welcome to Night Vale.

Construction crews are on hand at theNight Vale Public Library today to begin the renovations that were approved last year by the City Council. Some of the improvements planned for the library are a new children’s wing, something called a “knife pit,” an upgraded computer room with several empty desks and a loudspeaker that repeats “Technology ruins lives!” and, most importantly, thicker plexiglass to protect citizens form the librarians who were previously allowed to roam freely throughout the building.

City Council said renovations have been delayed for several months because it has been difficult to find construction crews willing to work in such dangerous proximity to librarians. But they finally found a very talented and brave crew to conduct this project: Colston Contractors, Inc. The City Council is asking that no one mention to any of the Colston workers that they are working near librarians. They think that they’re building an elaborate new Pinkberry.

The City Council then added, “Yesssssss,” and then they released a bunch of badgers into City Hall – much to the delight of onlookers who thought that the badgers were kittens. The onlookers were quickly and painfully corrected in this matter.

More on this story as it develops but first, today’s horoscopes.

Aries: Aries, you have much in common with a tree. A sadness that no one can see, or understand. Communication only through silence and wind. Skin made of wood. The way you collect sustenance through roots buried in soil. You are very, very much like a tree. Almost impossible to tell the difference.

Taurus: Taurus, today is the day that you change everything. Oh, I’m sorry. I misspoke, I’m sorry. Uh, let me try that again, OK? *Ahem* Today is the day that everything changes you. You will be completely unrecognizable. Yeah, that’s it. There ya go.

Gemini: How scared are you of centipedes, Gemini? I mean, no reason. The stars are just asking. Like, are you super super scared, because I can’t say for sure, but you’re pretty brave, right? Like, you could handle a couple of centipedes! You could handle a bunch of centipedes! Right, Gemini? No reason. I’m just asking.

Cancer: Today is an excellent day for you to demand a promotion, to approach the one that you’ve been secretly thinking about for years, to try your hand at that new hobby that you are considering. Unfortunately, it is a terrible day for getting that promotion, having that person say yes, and not injuring yourself badly on a power sander. But you should at least feel great about the attempt.

Leo: There’s just a thick, green smudge here, and the word “cryptotoxicology.” So I guess that’s a good thing, right?

Virgo: Now, wait. There are still some of you left? How did you survive the great culling of Virgos that swept through – oh! You know what? I’m sorry, that’s not ‘til next week. Sorry, I got confused there. Oh, yeah, today looks very good for you, Virgo! Maybe use this lovely day to get all your affairs in order. Just a thought.

Libra: All your dreams will come true today. Or…I mean, one of them will. You know that recurring dream where you’re chased through a house that seems like your own, but it isn’t quite, by a swarm of bees that you can’t see even though you totally know that they’re there? Well, it’s not that recurring dream, it’s the other one. And I am so, so sorry.

Scorpio: Your arms look weird. And your face is a natural irritant. And your personality leaves much to be desired, the principal desire being your immediate absence. You disgust me, Steve Carlsbe–…I mean, Scorpios? Ugh. Scorpios, right?

Sagittarius: Buy a tourniquet. The best that money can buy.

Capricorn: Today’s lucky number is imaginary! But, coincidentally, so are you, and your entire experience of the world.

Aquarius: You wanna make some money fast? I don’t know, rob somebody. Commit fraud. There’s lots of ways.

Pieces: You’ve just won another brand new car! You stare bleakly at your home filled with stacks upon stacks of new cars, occupying every possible space at impossible angles. Today’s brand new car is wheeled in and as you feel its bulk pressing up against you, taking the last bit of your home that had still been yours to live in, you feel tears hot upon your cheeks. Congratulations on your prize!

Listeners, I have just received word that there has been an accident at the library. The intricate papier-mâché and balsa wood scaffolding has collapsed. The Sheriff’s Secret Police have reported no serious injuries from the accident, but they are saying that one of the dense titanium and heavily-electrified cages containing a librarian was damaged, and that that cage is now empty.

Night Vale, this is terrible news. There is a librarian on the loose in our city. And Night Vale, there is no triple-thick armored wall or bloody animal carcass lying over a bamboo covered pit of sharp sticks to protect us from this stalking oblivion. Without the military grade steel walls of the library to keep the librarians contained, Night Vale, we are helpless! We are doomed.

Watch your back, Night Vale.

Oh! I almost forgot. We have a new intern, and that’s always fun! So, let’s have him introduce himself on the air.

Intern Andrew: Hello, I’m intern Andrew WK. Super excited about being here. Was a long waiting list when I signed up, had to wait, I don’t know, three days until the other interns had…left the station, but my name is up on top now!

Cecil: Yeah! Well, we are just thrilled to have you here.

Andrew: I look forward to a long and healthy life in radio.

Cecil: Say, um, Andrew, what do you know about librarians?

Andrew: Librarians…oh no. When I was young, my mother used to work in the coal mines before they were converted into the holding pens that they are for those who vote incorrectly in the municipal elections. She went out to work each day, miner’s helmet under her arm, pig slung over one shoulder, fencing sword tucked into her belt, and bloodied axe across her back – the usual miner’s get-up – and she would descend into the dark with her fellow workers seeking out coal or the tiny valuable hearts of rare bats.

Cecil: OK, so fantastic! What I’m gonna need you to do–

Andrew: My mother saw terrible things down there in the dark. Hazy, feathered things swarming, weeping things. Gawping, gasping things with claws and spokes and stingers and more claws! Day in and day out, this was her job! Mining coal and fighting the denzions [sic] of the dark downwards for their hearts. When she came home she’d be covered in coal dust and lymph.

My mother was never afraid, though. Nothing phased her. Except for the day I had to get a book from the library for a school science project. She insisted on going ahead of me to clear the way, but after a few minutes she came out shaking, pale, her fencing sword all bent, her axe broken in half. “Run!” she shouted, “Run!”

Librarians are feared even by the fearless.

But I did get a B on the project!

Cecil: Oh, that’s good! And– and that was a very well-told story. Um, also, I need you just to…run on down to the library, and just do a little bit of research on librarians.

Andrew: To the library.

Cecil: Yeah! Yeah, good luck. You’ll be fine. He’ll be fine! Yeah. Well, I can’t wait to hear what intern Andrew comes up with!

Listeners, we are already getting reports from all over town about the escaped librarian. Liesel Schmidd, who owns the auto body shop near Somerset and Gray said she heard whispers. And the whispers sounded as if they were coming from just next to her.

“Where do you live, Liesel? Do you like cars? How many cars will you fix before you die? What is your favorite color of paint? Do you know what I look like, Liesel? Do you want to? Do you want to?”

And the whispers echoed off the closed garage doors of the vast, empty workshop. And Liesel said with each question, a halogen work light would fade to black, her auto body shop slowly darkening until the whispers were all she could see. And yes, somehow she could see them. Until the final question.

“Liesel! Can I come live with you? I am all alone, Liesel!”

And the last light exploded, and the room went black. And before she could even start the usual process of panic, Liesel felt – and here she is, alone, in the dark – a small hand slide, slowly, into her own. And Liesel tried to pull away, but this childlike hand kept sliding further and further into her palm, and the childlike hand was thick, serpentine, enlarging continually and wrapping around her wrist and then her forearm, and she felt the sharp pierce of what seemed like blades, but were likely just the rigid caudal spine common on most librarians.

And Liesel tried to scream, but she could only gasp. And she gasped through a clenched throat and bared teeth, “Please! Please, let me be! I– I– I have a family!” And it was the possession of this family that saved her, as her business partner and sister, Pica, having just arrived, fired a blowtorch at the book-loving monster, and it slitheringly scurried and scurriedly slithered away.

Listeners, I have also received word from Green Market Board president Tristan Cortes that he cannot stop feeling his own heart beating. And he feels it throughout his entire body, and it feels like there is an enormous engine buried in the earth beneath him, shaking the very foundations of the land, but it is not an enormous engine, it is a heart. And it is actually so fragile, and so small, and there is…something just on the other side of the front door, he said.

And it is breathing.

And he is breathing.

And he cannot bring himself to look outside. He knows who it is. He knows what it is.

And his heart is reacting as any heart would in the presence of a librarian, the rhythm of his own liquid life pulses through his tongue and his lips, throbbing and impossible to ignore, and he can feel it in his feet as he tries to stand still, and he can feel it in his chest as he tries to yell over the din of his pulse, the BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!-ing of his heart, and finally he manages one terrified shout into the cool morning air. And Tristan could not say for sure that it was a librarian on the other side of the door, but he did say that he could smell that familiar librarian odor of burnt coffee during a sinus infection.

And he also said that after the beast left, the day’s mail had appeared on the front porch. So…it could have just been a really spooky postal worker.

And now, a word from our sponsors.

Today’s show is brought to you by American Express. I have with me a representative from American Express in the studio, here to tell you all about this amazing card’s many features. The representative is just a slight haze in the air, and her name is Deb!

Deb?

Deb: Thanks, Cecil.

Hello, listeners out there. I think I speak for all American Express employees, and also for all sentient patches of haze, when I say that I am just thrilled about the new American Express Obsidian Card.

Cecil: Ohhh! Well, that sounds very exclusive! I'm– haha, I’m actually still using the same AMEX that I got in college, um…it’s just a Post-it note, and it has “Real American Express Card” written on it, and a drawing of a thumbs-up. And I trust this card completely although, admittedly, I have yet to find a merchant that will actually accept it.

Deb: Well, the new Obsidian Card will solve all of your problems. It’s accepted worldwide by any merchant that keeps their store dimly lit, and lingers sadly all day on memories of lost loved ones. It’s easy – if you hear crying, then your card is welcome.

Cecil: Oh!

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It also gives you points for airlines. Or it points at the nearest airplane if you put it on a flat surface, I don’t remember which.

Cecil: Well, that sounds really great!

Deb: I don’t care what it sounds like.

Cecil: Oh.

Deb: It’s already in your wallet now. It’s in the wallet of all your listeners. It has replaced the wallet of all your listeners. Many objects in their home will now be replaced by the American Express Obsidian Card. Everything they touch will turn into a black volcanic stone credit card. They will accidentally kill people. People they care about. And whose only crime was being touched by the cursed listener.

American Express. Don’t leave home.

Cecil: Wow! What a great product and/or service! You know, I try not to listen to or remember what anybody says to me? Taking in knowledge can be a super dangerous thing to do.

Speaking of danger, the librarian was just seen near the Dog Park. The long-taloned creature with its many round black eyes and hairy brown teeth was seen scaling the Dog Park fence. City Council has warned us many times that the Dog Park is off limits, that dogs are not allowed in the Dog Park. That people are not allowed in the Dog Park. That we may see Hooded Figures in the Dog Park.

Well, witnesses said that as the librarian approached the Dog Park fence, the Hooded Figures all ran away, in different directions, their cloaks fluttering in a wind of motion, revealing matching black and white Nike tennis shoes.

But, before the librarian could enter the Dog Park, a small band of masked children showed up, holding slingshots and well-worn copies of Chinua Achebe’s critically-acclaimed post-fatalist novel No Longer at Ease. By all accounts, this was the same group of fifth through eighth graders who bravely escaped last year’s Summer Reading Program at the Night Vale Public Library.

The leader of that escape, 13 year-old Tamika Flynn, was with the group of kids at the Dog Park trying to back the librarian down from the fence. As a small boy blew a low, long tone on a conch shell, Tamika held aloft the severed head of the librarian she defeated last summer (still surprisingly well preserved) as a gruesome warning for the librarian currently terrorizing the forbidden municipal park.

Witnesses said that the librarian shrieked meekly, and leapt form the fence as the children chased after it shouting suggested additions to the library’s fiction stock.

“Maxine Hong Kingston!” came one shout.

“Larry McMurtry is a cornerstone of new western literature!” came another cry.

“I have never read Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I hope you add her!” came a final call as slingshotted rockes plunked hard off the retreating librarian’s exoskeleton.

Tamika then spoke. We have her actual speech, because we are all being recorded at all times by several different organizations, and of course, amateur community spying clubs. Here now is Tamika Flynn’s statement:

Tamika Flynn: People of Night Vale, we are your children. We are your children who survived the librarians. We are your children who defeated StrexCorp. We are your children who learned the power of books. The power of books is that they teach you how to destroy what is, but should not be. The power of books is that they show you what it might be like to think as someone other than this person you are stuck being. The power of books is poisonous gases and spring traps.

Nothing is more powerful than a book. A larger book is slightly more powerful than a smaller book, because it can also be used to hit your enemies. Smaller paperbacks are terrible for that. Take it from me, I’ve tried. A Hero of Our Time might be a classic of Russian literature, but it is useless against the hide of a librarian – even when launched with a homemade book launcher. This is why Vladimir Nabokov’s famous translation added several thousand blank pages and a carbon steel bullet-shaped duff jacket.

But your physical stature is unrelated to your strength. You are strong because you are many. You are strong because you are in this together. You are strong because of that weird rain that gave many of you double-quick hand combat reflexes and seventh eyes. You are strong because, if enough people believe in their own power, even if armed only with mass market paperbacks, they can bring down not just a librarian, but an entire corporatic regime!

As for us, your army of missing children, we are not missing. We are found!

Here is our plan, Night Vale. We will give up. We will lay down our arms and quit fighting. We will close our eyes and sleep. Yes, that is what we will do. Once we have crushed every enemy in our path! Once we are victorious and bathed in blood, and placing stickers on reading levels far beyond our ages! Reading levels that are yet to be discovered! Pizza reading rewards in quantities and kinds that are unimaginable to the unenlightened!

As Indira Gandhi once said, “you cannot shake hands with a mangled fist that has been chewed up by an unchained librarian.”

You are not alone. You were never alone. We will advance on the librarians together. Believe in us, Night Vale. We will exist either way, but you might as well.

You might as well.

Cecil: Unfortunately, witnesses were too shaken to see where the librarian disappeared to.

Listeners, I urge you to follow Tamika’s example of strength and courage. Be brave, like Tamika!

But do so indoors, yeah? Keep your homes locked, and listen here for further instructions.

But now, let’s have a look at the Community Calendar.

This Thursday afternoon at the Rec Center is the Sheriff’s Secret Police’s semiannual gun buy-back program. If you have an illegal or unregistered gun, bring it to the Rec Center, and the Secret Police will buy it from you with full amnesty, no questions asked.

A Secret Police representative said it’d be “especially cool” if you had fully-automatic rifles and some hand grenades. “Like, really cool!” she repeated, here eyes darting about, her knuckles rhythmically cracking. “Also,” she added, “please don’t tell anybody we’re doing this. It’s totally covert.”

There is an event this Thursday night at Dark Owl Records. For more on that, we have owner Michele Nguyen on the phone.

Umm, Michelle?

Michelle Nguyen: Hi, Cecil!

Cecil: Welcome to our show, Michelle!

Michelle: Am I…on a podcast?

Cecil: No. This is my radio show.

Michelle: Oh. Good. Podcasts are dead. I hate podcasts.

Cecil: Hm. So, Michelle, I got a press release saying that you have a special event this Thursday at Dark Owl Records.

Michelle: I wish I hadn’t sent that out. I didn’t want anyone to know about it.

Cecil: It doesn’t actually say what the event is; it just says “Dark Owl Records, this Thursday night, you probably wouldn’t understand and probably won’t be invited.”

Michelle: So, this Thursday night, the Dark Owl staff and I are going to try to discover fire. It’s a private event and I’ve ordered them never to tell anybody what we find out because if everyone knows how to make fire, then everyone will start talking about how to make fire, and then people will be making fire all the time. And suddenly making fire won’t mean anything. We will no longer feel what it means to create flames. We will no longer cry under the glimmering orange lamp of nature’s most cruel and useful force.

If everyone loves making fire, then how can we truly know what it even means to feel heat, or light a scented candle, or fry an egg, or take revenge on your own diary?

Cecil: Not to be a spoil-sport here, Michelle, um, but fire was discovered a long time ago.

Michelle: I know that! Fire’s been around for decades. Blah blah blah, history, blah blah. But it’s important that my staff and I discover it for ourselves.

Cecil: Hmm.

Michelle: It’s like Bono said, moments before he died: “It’s all been a lie, and I wish I had been more aware.”

Cecil: Oh. Well, it sounds like a cool event.

Michelle: Please don’t ruin it with adjectives.

Cecil: Well, it sounds like an event. Um, Michelle, I don’t know if you’ve heard the news today about the escaped librarian.

Michelle: I found out about the escaped librarian years ago, from this underground magazine called Füteür.

Cecil: Futeur?

Michelle: Füteür, with two umlauts.

Cecil: Oh, OK. Well I’ve never heard of Füteür.

Michelle: Of course you haven’t. The only way to get a copy is to walk to the middle of the Whispering Forest. The trees there will try to lure you into becoming one of them by complementing your outfit and physical appearance. But I’m immune to positive feedback. So I’m one of the only people who can walk through there.

My friend Richard is a tree there now. He used to intern here.

Cecil: Yeah!

Michelle: He wanted me to tell you hi, and you have a nice voice.

Cecil: Oh, that’s so nice!

Michelle: You have an OK voice. I guess. Richard’s the one who told me about the magazine. In order to read it you have to climb this one tree, this creepy seeder named Redge, who appreciates my hats way too much.

At the top of Redge is a plastic magazine kiosk that’s covered with band stickers and misspelled cuss words. Füteür Magazine comes out weekly, and it tells you news, all before it happens, insuring that I never have to have my parents or someone over 30 tell me something I didn’t already know.

So, yes. I knew about the escaped librarian well before anyone else.

Cecil: So, what happens? I mean, did Füteür explain how we were able to save our town or if, if we were able to save our town?

Michelle: Probably. I don’t remember. It wasn’t very interesting. There was a review of an Amanda Palmer album that comes out in eight years. I read that instead.

Anyway, I’m covered in spiders, so…know that.

Cecil: Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry! Please, go call an exterminator right now!

Michelle: No! The spiders are my outfit, Cecil! I’m not going to kill them!

Cecil: OK. Um, well, thank you very much, Michelle.

Uh, listeners, this Thursday night at Dark Owl Record, Michelle and her staff will try to discover fire.

Michelle: Please stop knowing this.

Cecil: So, before you go Michelle, do you have any special approaches or techniques you’re going to use to discover fire for yourselves?

Michelle: We’re going to use simple elements, like cigarette lighters and gasoline. I gotta go. My hat is crawling down my back.

Cecil: OK! Thank you very much, Michelle!

More on the Community Calendar:

This Friday night, all lanes of Route 800 will be shut down in both directions as work crews stand in the middle of the empty, dark highway, repeating “Bloody Mary!” three times, just so we can settle this thing once and for all!

Oh! Saturday afternoon on the great lawn near City Hall is the annual Children’s Fair! There will be face painting booths, street food, balloon animals, real animals, hungry animals, feral wild animals that fear no humans. Children and adults are prohibited from attending until they get all of these animals under control.

Saturday night is the PTA’s annual fundraiser benefit. With more on that, let’s go now to PTA treasurer, Diane Creighton, who is on the phone with us right now.

Uh, Hi, Diane?

Diane?

Steve Carlsberg: Yeah, hi!

Cecil: No!

Steve: Yeah, yeah, uh, hi, it’s uh…

Cecil: No, no, no, no, no!

Steve: Diane couldn’t be here, so, you know, uh, so it’s me, Steve Carlsberg. Secretary-elect of the Night Vale PTA.

Cecil: I was told it would be Diane Creighton!

Steve: Well, uh, Diane has a minor case of throat spiders, so she asked me to fill in for her.

Cecil: I’m sure she did not, Steve Carlsberg! But fine. Fine. Tell us about your idiotic *ahemmmmm*…Tell us about your fundraiser.

Steve: OK! Thank you, Cecil! *Ahem* This year, the Night Vale PTA is raising money to increase the number of school clubs. Studies show that children who get involved in extra-curricular organizations – especially kids who take on leadership roles – are more likely to graduate college! In the coming year, we wanna be able to fund a glee club, a drama club, a chess club, a pyrokinesis club, an blood stone circle prayer society, a speechless debate club, and an armed political insurgency club.

Cecil: What about a science club?

Steve: Oh, uh, why would we want a science club?

Cecil: Because science is important, Steve! We need science! Kids should learn science! It helps them… It– it’s very good for them when they need to–

Steve: Wha– Wh– What does it– How does it help them, Cecil? What does it help them do?

Cecil: I don’t know. Something. Something good. Science is good. I like science. Science is good for all of us.

Steve: Alright, well, most parents don’t believe in science, Cecil, so you know, I– I doubt it would have much support, but tell you what, I’ll see what I can do.

Cecil: OK, fine. So, when is your stupid *hmmmmmm!!!* What is your event going to be like?

Steve: Oh, glad you asked. Saturday’s benefit will feature a seated dinner, a silent auction, a live auction, a secret underground auction, two fake diversionary auctions, and a raffle drawing where we hunt, capture, and clean the winner.

Cecil: Well, great. That is all the time we have today…

Steve: Sorry, Cecil! Cecil, sorry! Can I just add that tickets for the benefit are still available online! Ha-ha-ha! They’re only fifty dollars, or you can pay at the door. It’s gonna be held at the Rec Center. You just go past the auditorium and you look for the door.

It’s not a door you’ve seen before, but you will know it when you see it. Go through that door, and then continue through a series of increasingly smaller doors, as it becomes harder and harder to squeeze your shoulders, and then your chest and hips, into the increasingly dark and quiet crawlspace. Then just when you think you will become stuck, you will become stuck. And all will go silent, and you will hear nothing except something feathered, and you will feel nothing except something feathered. And you will not be heard from again.

Cecil: That sounds like fun!

Steve: It will be! It’s gonna be great! Super blast! Super blast good time! Ha-ha-ha!

Cecil: OK, whatever. You know I was just humming to myself until you stopped talking.

Steve: OK, well, can I just say one more thing?

Cecil:No! No, Steve Carlsberg, we are done here! Hang up the phone!

Steve: OK, ha-ha-ha!

Cecil: Hmmm. Where were we, listeners? Oh, yes. Community Calendar.

Sunday morning, the Night Vale Junior League will be opening the one hundred year time capsule that was buried there by disgruntled Subway employees all the way back in 1915. And it is just so exciting to see what kinds of bread and cold cuts that have been buried in that little cardboard box for an entire century! And we are all certain to learn a lot…and then forget it, only to have it resurface subtly couched in horrifying Jungian dream imagery for the rest of our lives. Because that is how time works, hmm?

Monday would like for you to leave it alone. It is not its fault that you are emotionally unprepared for your own professional lives! Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm.

How are you doing right now, dear listeners? No? Are you…afraid? I would like to tell you that I am not afraid. Um, I would like to be strong in the face of imminent death, Night Vale. I am, after all, the voice of a community, and I must be neutral. Impassive. Just…simply reporting the news. I would like to feel something resembling confidence.

But, I am feeling something resembling petrified terror! I am very similar to a scared person. The City Council has just announced that…dear listeners, I– I– I– I do not know how to tell you this, but…the City Council has just announced that all of the librarians have escaped.

Night Vale, we do not yet know how many librarians there are, or what exactly they are capable of. We were already too scared to read or even think about good literature, and now even our own book-free personal space will be invaded by these monsters!

Like the great American writer Mark Twain once said, “Readin’ is hardly worth all this bloodshed. That is why all my novels are wadded up candy stall receipts that I leave on park benches. They should never be put in libraries, even after I die – in the next few minutes, at the hands of this drunk Minotaur standin’ in my parlor right now.”

Now, Mark Twain was wise enough to know that libraries are a bad idea. Listeners, I’m gonna call my boyfriend Carlos just to…just to see what he thinks. I mean, I know, I know, he’s only a scientist, but he might have some good ideas about how to handle these unholy beasts.

Carlos: Hello?

Cecil: Hey, Carlos. Uh, it’s me. I'm– I'm– I’m calling you from the show.

Carlos: Oh, hey! Yeah, I was listening earlier, um, but I got distracted with, um, uh, with work… Yeah, I’m…I’m standing in front of a row of beakers, with different colored liquids, intermittently rubbing my chin and writing down long, complex, equations. And there is a giant computer next to me, too, with several blinking buttons.

Cecil: Well, you’re obviously…hard…at work. Hard at work. And I…and I really hate to bother you. No, wait! How are you able to listen to my radio show from an alternate desert otherworld?

Carlos: Oh, I…I just reprogrammed my phone using some basic scientific laws, and now I can actually livestream your radio station! Yeah, so…so time doesn’t work correctly in Night Vale, and it works actually even less correctly here, so sometimes I get old broadcasts from before we met, and once I heard a future broadcast but I turned that off as soon as I realized what was happening, because you know, some thing just aren’t meant to be known.

Anyway, so I heard that you announced that there’s a new wing of the library opening, that’s exciting!

Cecil: No! No! No, that is not exciting! Well, actually, technically, yes it is exciting, but it’s like, the horrible exciting! There are escaped librarians on the loose and…listen, this is one of the few times that I am glad that you are in an alternate dimension. At least, there, you are safe from bloodthirsty librarians.

Carlos: Why would we need to be afraid of librarians? Librarians are helpful and kind! I mean, I don’t want to generalize about all librarians, you know, certainly there are some mean librarians, just as there are some mean people, I mean…just as there are helpful and kind librarians and people. They are no different than any of us!

So, I myself have never actually met a librarian. Yeah, I, uh, since I am a scientist and not a writer or an editor, I’ve never actually had to read a book.

Cecil: Oh!

Carlos: Yeah, and thus, um, yeah. And– and– and have never actually been inside a library. Uh, but, but I had friends in college who were literature or journalism majors, and they told me that librarians did things like…help recommend good books, and find important information related to their interests, and nearly all of my friends that have visited a library are still alive.

A little over half.

Anyway, I don’t see what the panic is about!

Cecil: No, Carlos, listen to yourself. This is…this is insane!

Carlos: Perhaps, you know, Cecil, but…as the great mathematician Albert Einstein once said, “the definition of insanity is available inside this cave. Come inside this cave. Come inside this cave and the definition will be told to you, it is so nice inside this cave.”

Cecil: True. No, Carlos, even though there are no librarians where you are, I want you to be safe. Or, better yet, come home soon.

Carlos: I’ll see you again soon. I promise.

Cecil: I– I don’t know what to do with myself without you. I love you.

Carlos: I love you too. And, you know, Cecil, I’ll be fine. I’m a scientist. A scientist is always fine.

Cecil: Well, listeners, I have to say, I certainly feel better having talked to Carlos…even though I have learned absolutely nothing new about the escaped librarians.

So, Night Vale, all I can tell you is to board up your doors and windows, turn out the lights, and– and do not answer your door for any reason. We do not yet know how long we must hide ourselves.

And you must continue to live your lives. But, do so in a way that draws no attention, that requires no light, or motion. J– Shut down your lives, dear listeners, for fear of losing them. Just remove all semblance of living to prolong, for a few more moments, that empty life.

Be safe, Night Vale. And I will do my best to keep bringing you the news.

Andrew: Hello, Cecil?

Cecil: Intern Andrew? Well, it’s wonderful to hear from you again. Are you…are you at the library?

Andrew: Uh, yes. I have found my way into the library, it’s very dark in here. The construction crew is standing over the collapsed scaffolding, poking at it with sticks and ordering it to put itself back together again. Their antennae are in the non-aggressive position, so I don’t think they realize the danger they’re in.

Cecil: OK. Be careful, Andrew, but also…be closer to the story. Be much closer and tell all of us what you see.

Andrew: Uh, well, I’m walking between the shelves, there are books all around me. I don’t feel safe around so many books. There are small wallows here and there where librarians have nested for the night. Some of these look quite fresh.

Cecil: OK, move quietly. There could still be a librarian somewhere.

Andrew: There is! There is a librarian! OK, it’s seen me. It has me trapped in the biography section. There are so many books here about Helen Hunt. I have no choice, I’m gonna have to fight my way out of this.

Cecil: No! No, you would never survive. Just pretend that you don’t exist and hope that the librarian shares your delusion.

Andrew: It’s too late. It’s too late. I have my fencing sword in my hand. Say goodbye to my mother. Wherever she’s buried herself after the mine closed, I’m gonna do her proud.

Cecil: OK, I will definitely find–

Andrew: And say goodbye to my best friend Johann and my second-best friend Jamie, and my tied-for-third best friends Xerxes and Hasad. Wish them well on their artisanal upholstery business. Cover those chairs, my sweetest friends. Cover those chairs.

Cecil: Ok, I will…I will do that…

Andrew: And say goodbye to the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in My Home. I don’t know what I would have done without her. Well, probably most of the same things I always did because I didn’t know she was there until she started running for mayor, and now I’m not clear how she’s secretly living anywhere. I mean, how is it a secret at this point?

Cecil: Huh.

Andrew: Yeah, ask her that.

Cecil: All right.

Andrew: And– and– and kind of smirk while you ask her.

Cecil: Oh.

Andrew: Like, lean back, you know, cross your arms a little bit.

Cecil: Like…

Andrew: More…

Cecil: Rrrrr…

Andrew: OK, great.

Cecil: Rrr….

Andrew: So…so do that. Do that for me.

Cecil: OK, I wi– I will do all of those things.

Andrew: Wait! And say goodbye to Cecil.

Cecil: What?

Andrew: Tell him his voice is like swimming in a clear, cold underground river.

Cecil: No, I’m Cecil!

Andrew: Just tell him for me!

All right, I’m going in. This will be a perilous and lengthy struggle. We’ll be intertwined in a gruesome embrace until one of us dies. Maybe hours from now, maybe days.

For Night Vale!

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!

Cecil: To the family of intern Andrew WK: He was a brave intern…although not very knowledgeable about fencing swords and their complete inability to cut human flesh, let alone librarian exoskeletons.

And now, a public service announcement.

The Greater Night Vale Medical Community is calling on all citizens to please, give blood. There are always patients, unfortunate people, who need your help. Sometimes there is a great natural disaster, like an earthquake or tornado, or even a great artificial disaster, like scissor fog. But do not wait for these moments to give blood. Doctors need it every single day.

Never given blood before? It’s easy. The Greater Night Vale Medical Community knows that many of you are afraid of needles. But there are so many non-needle ways to get your blood: court injunction, satellites, wolverines, a very carefully-staged “accident…” so please, put aside your rational fear of needles and pain and give blood.

This message has been brought to you by the Greater Night Vale Medical Community, which…

OK, this is weird. Listen, I’m sorry, but I said that I would ask.

The Greater Night Vale Medical Community wanted me to tell you that they think that you are cute, and are you seeing anybody right now? Because, listen, I told them that you were, so that way there’s no pressure on you, OK? But they still wanted me to ask, and they were very persistent.

You know what? No. It’s cool, I’ll tell them that you are seeing somebody, so there are no worries.

Listeners, I’m starting to doubt if I’m as alone as I thought in this studio. Um, I thought it was only me, and the monitoring cameras, and the cameras that monitor the monitoring cameras…but I’m beginning to feel something else. See something else. It’s…I’m seeing…

Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home: Cecil?

Cecil: Aahhhh! I think I know who this is!

Faceless Old Woman: Yes, it’s me. The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home.

Cecil: Of course. It is former mayoral candidate and hidden lurker watching all of us at all times, the Faceless Old Woman. Um, well, it’s lovely to have you here.

Faceless Old Woman: I am not a former candidate. I do not accept the results of the mayoral race, and I still consider myself your best choice for mayor. I wanted to make myself known to you and your listeners in this time of crisis to show how mayoral I am. It is very mayoral to stand near disasters. I am very good at standing near things.

I am less good at being seen, but I am working on that using a system of whistles and mirrors.

Cecil: Huh. Mirrors.

Well, let’s talk about this. What would you, as presumptive mayor, have done differently with this librarian situation?

Faceless Old Woman: Oh, many things. Mayoral things. Profound and effective things. I would have stood in the corners of dark rooms, shaking my head in disappointment. I would have taken the uneaten lettuce from your crisper and stapled it to your couch cushions. I would have filled every dresser drawer with damp autumn leaves and uneasy dreams.

Cecil: Hmm.

Faceless Old Woman: I would have written the date of your death in blue highlighter on all of your shoes. There’s a lot you can do as mayor if you just stop and think. If you just stop all time, and think for centuries on a problem while linear progression ceases and you continue to age on a separate plane of existence.

Cecil: And all of this would help get rid of the librarians on the loose in Night Vale?

Faceless Old Woman: What? Oh, no, I don’t care about that. That was just a list of things I would do regardless of intentions or consequences.

Librarians are pretty awful, but I can always hide. I live secretly in your home, not obstreperously like the rest of you, chewing loudly and playing brass instruments and stomping around in thick boots through a haze of television chatter and sublimated sadness.

Also, stop being so self conscious about your weight. Your shirts are all a full size too big. I’ve cut them into fabric strips and made an ottoman of them.

Cecil: Well, uh, Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly– but l– listen. Is there a shorter name that I can call you, by the way?

Faceless Old Woman: Yes.

Cecil: Oh! What is it?

Faceless Old Woman: I’ll whisper it into your ear.

Cecil: Uh?

[exaggerated whispering sounds]

Ohhh…really?

Faceless Old Woman: Don’t tell!

Cecil: OK, I won’t!

Faceless Old Woman: Don’t tell!

Cecil: OK. All right, all right.

Well. Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home, uh, even if you are safe from librarians, um, shouldn’t your top concern as mayoral candidate be for the safety of your constituents?

Faceless Old Woman: Yes, it should. But “should” and “is” are different words for many reasons. Spelling is one reason; there are other reasons. It’s understandable you’re alarmed, but…it’s also quite dull. I’m bored with your fear. I want to talk about the death you cannot see, the dangers you do not fear because you do not know. That is interesting to me.

Cecil: Now, what dangers do we not see? Please, please tell us.

OK, she’s whispering in my ear again…

[exaggerated whispering sounds]

What? Him? Oh, he’s so sweet!

[exaggerated whispering sounds]

Wha– her, too? Oh, that’s awful.

[exaggerated whispering sounds]

Oh, I actually don’t know him.

[exaggerated whispering sounds]

Faceless Old Woman: Well, most doctors don’t even know how to stop the swelling or stench at all.

Cecil: Oh, that’s terrible, Faceless Old Woman!

Faceless Old Woman: You meant “interesting.” You said “terrible,” you meant “interesting.” Look, it’s all going to be OK.

Cecil: It will? How?

Faceless Old Woman: Well, it actually won’t be. I was lying. But don’t worry, I’ll always be there for you.

Cecil: Oh, well that’s very sweet of you, Faceless Old Woman!

Faceless Old Woman: Oh, look. Diane Creighton has throat spiders. I need to see this.

Cecil: Hello? Hellooo?

Well, it seems like she’s gone again.

Listeners, the worst has just happened. We are getting reports that a librarian has entered a theater. Thankfully, you are not one of those doomed souls who risked their lives for something as useless as live theater! Ha ha ha! Ahh, ha ha! Ahh.

But let us all, as an exercise in empathy, imagine what it would be like to be one of those unfortunates in their last oblivious moments. Imagine you are in a theater. Imagine rows of seats. Imagine a stage. Imagine amplification, and the person seated a row behind you consistently whispering to their friend. Picture this. Picture yourself as you would never be, in a crowd of listening strangers.

Now, imagine the librarian in the theater, not yet spotted in the dark of the house. Imagine it slithering silently beneath the theater seats. What if, hypothetical theater-goer, it were under the seat that you were in right now?

Don’t look! Don’t look!

If it saw you, what would it decide to do to you?

OK, there is safety in numbers. Everyone at once, now, look!

There’s nothing there! You are safe in your imagined theater seat. Or, maybe, the librarian anticipated your movement and slipped out of view just as you looked. That is a possibility, too. What is wonderful about this world is that anything is possible. Anything that can eventually result in your death is possible.

Oh. Was that a dry, scaled hand upon your shoulder?

No, not that shoulder. No, it’s the other one. Yeah. It’s…

Oh. Ooohhhh. It keeps moving back and forth. And you begin to feel breath faintly on the back of your neck. So faintly that you dismiss it, over and over until it dismisses you for good.

And one by one by one, people are disappearing from their theater seats without a sound, just a flash of red and a dark stain. And your brain adjusts for this by remembering those seats as always having been empty and moist.

And then, then the screams start. First the left side of the theater! And then the right side of the theater! And the entire theater is screaming! And one person in the front row stands up, and they are tearing at their hair, and they are howling!

And wait! Wait! The entire front row stands up, and the entire front row is clutching at their chests, and they are screaming louder than the entire theater combined!

And then, there is silence.

Utter silence.

And the front row sits down.

And the silence is worse than the screams. And no one is saying anything at all. And no one is making the slightest move. And the librarian…it is above them.

Don’t look up!

And the librarian begins to descend, perhaps on a web, perhaps on great black wings, perhaps with its tendrils wrapped around the walls and the beams of the theater and it’s jaws begin to open and it focuses on one single person.

Don’t look up!

And while that person waits, unknowingly, to get taken, I take all of you, safe at home of course, not actually helpless in a theater, to the weather!

[“Serpentine Cycle of Money” by Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt]

Cecil: Listeners, good news! I mean, the news was always good for you, safe at home, with only a few hidden entities lurking around you (and none of them quite as dangerous as librarians) but, the news is surprisingly also good for those screaming victims trapped in the theater.

The librarians have been recaptured.

Not by the Sheriff’s Secret Police, not by Tamika Flynn and her valiant band of well-read child vigilantes, but by the librarians themselves.

We have learned that the initial escapee was named Randall, and we have also learned that Randall was trying to leave his job as a librarian. He was curious about all the other jobs in the world, as he had been born a librarian and had only ever known the secret evils and dark magics of library science.

Randall wanted to know what it would be like to work as a construction contractor, an auto body mechanic, a food coop manager, a municipal park employee, a Hooded Figure. There is a whole world of occupations and opportunities in America.

“It is a free country,” we regularly explain to ourselves, without quite knowing what we mean.

And Randall even slipped into a theater to find out what it might be like to be a folk singer, or an actor, or an usher, or just a regular person – just a human, filled with regret and worry, trying to find a moment outside of themselves by watching a live performance.

But the librarians, knowing that they are not human (far from it), found Randall and brought him back to the library. For while they are terrible, blood-thirsty pseudo reptilians, librarians are also quite organized. Just as they would never want a highly-researched nonfiction travel guide like Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series to end up in, say, Fiction, or a sci-fi fantasy comic book like Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides to end up in Religious Studies, librarians also know that they should never be seen or felt or heard outside of a library. Librarians know that they cannot enter society and coexist with humans without succumbing to intense hunger and curiosity and…tearing us all into pink pulpy piles of post-existence.

So, they dragged unhappy Randall from the theater, along with a couple of collateral audience members.

And the people in the theater were filled with relief, and shaking with the echo of their terror. And they each turned to a person seated near them – not a person that they came with – they each turned to a complete stranger and they said, to that stranger, “You are alive for now.”

And then they said, to that stranger, “Congratulations.” And then they shared a couple of moments of eye contact to acknowledge the unlikelihood of that claim.

One…two…and then they turned away, uncomfortable with all that eyeballs and vision might imply, and then they said, to that stranger, “Well, it was nice to meet you.” And then, each one of them said, “My name’s Amanda,” even though very few of them were actually named Amanda. Very few.

Then the show went on, and that moment of exchange hung between all the strangers in the audience, latent, and invisible. Perhaps to be reprised later, or perhaps already only existing in the poor reconstruction of memory.

As usual, we had nothing to fear. And, in saying that, I mean we have everything to fear.

Death is slotted for us all, and maybe it is years from now – in a soft bed, surrounded by the soft eyes of the people that we love – or, maybe, it is not so many years from now at all. And we have every reason to be afraid. But we also need to learn to put that fear aside, like a library book. Sometimes we need to check out our fear, and– and– and read it, and– and study it and peruse it closely, but at a certain point return it to its proper shelf and experience something else.

Contentment.

Worry.

Calm.

Hunger.

Spinal parasites.

And a great deal of love, of every kind.

So put that fear in a place where you can find it when you need it, but don’t carry it with you! Don’t carry it with you.

Stay tuned next for a shuffling movement outwards, the dimming of lights, and a large hall left empty and silent until the next time it is not.

Goodnight to all of you, listeners.

And goodnight, Night Vale. Goodnight.

Meg Bashwiner: Welcome to Night Vale is a production of Commonplace Books. It is written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor.

Original music by Disparition, led by John Bernstein, featuring Deepthi Welaratna, Valerie Evering, Kyra Simms, and Dan Harpaz.

Today’s weather was “Serpentine Cycle of Money” by Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin.

The voice of intern Andrew was Andrew WK.

The voice of Deb was Meg Bashwiner.

The voice of Tamika Flynn was Symphony Sanders.

The voice of Michelle Nguyen was Kate Jones.

The voice of Steve Carlsberg was Hal Lublin.

The voice of Carlos was New York City’s own Dylan Marron.

The voice of the Faceless Old Woman was Mara Wilson.

The voice of Night Vale is Cecil Baldwin.

Today’s proverb: To quote the great Herman Melville, “call me.”

Thank you so much, New York City, you’ve been a wonderful audience! A big thank you to the Skirball Center for having us tonight. Thank you all so very much for listening. Please get home safely.

Goodnight.

Bonus Track: Intern James Urbaniak

Intern James: Hello, Cecil.

Cecil: Intern James? Wait, how wonderful to hear from you again! Are…are you inside the library?

James: Yes. I found my way into the library. It’s very dark here. The construction crew is standing over the collapsed scaffolding, poking at it with sticks, and ordering it to put itself back together again. Their antennas are at the non-aggressive position so I don’t think they realize the danger they’re in.

Cecil: Be careful, James! But also, be closer to the story. Be much closer, and tell us what you see.

James: I’m walking between the shelves. There are books all around me. I don’t feel safe around so many books. There are small wallows here and there where a librarian has nested for the night. Some of them look quite fresh.

Cecil: Just move quietly. There could still be an actual libr–

James: There’s a librarian! It’s seen me! It has me trapped in the biography section! There are many books about Helen Hunt. There are also some books about Sean Penn. I have no choice, I have to fight my way out!

Cecil: You will never survive! Just pretend that you don’t exist and hope that the librarian shares your delusion.

James: It’s too late! I have my fencing sword in my hand. Say goodbye to my mother. Wherever she buried herself after the mine closed, I’ll do her proud.

Cecil: I will.

James: And say goodbye to my best friend Johann, and my second-best friend Jamie, and– and my tied-for-third best friends Xerxes and Hasad. Wish them well on their artisanal upholstery business. Cover those chairs, my sweetest friends. Cover those chairs!

Cecil: OK. OK.

James: And say goodbye to the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in My Home. I don’t know what I would have done without her. Probably mostly the same things I always did, 'cause I didn’t know she was there until she…until she started running for mayor. And I’m not clear how she’s secretly living anywhere. How is it a secret at this point? Ask her that. And kind of smirk when you do. Lean back and cross your arms, too.

More…great, do that.

Cecil: OK…

James: For me.

Cecil: OK. Um, I– is that all…

James: And say goodbye to Cecil. Tell him his voice is like swimming in a clear, cold underground river.

Cecil: No, but I’m…I’m Cecil.

James: Tell him that for me, alright?

Going in. This will be a perilous and lengthy struggle. We will be intertwined in a gruesome embrace until one of us dies. Maybe hours from now. Maybe days.

For Night Vale!

Oh…I– Oh– Wh– [struggles]

Cecil: To the family of intern James Urbaniak…

Bonus Track: Intern Molly Quinn

Intern Molly: Cecil, do you copy?

Cecil: Intern Molly? What…this is– this is great to hear from you again. What…are you in the library?

Molly: Yes. I found my way into the library. It’s very dark in here. The construction crew is standing over the collapsed scaffolding, poking at it with sticks, and ordering it to put itself back together again. Their antennas are at the non-aggressive position, so I don’t think they realize the danger they’re in.

Cecil: Wh– just be careful, Molly! But also, get closer to the story. Get much closer, and tell us everything you see.

Molly: I’m walking between the shelves. There are books all around me. I don’t feel safe around so many books. There are small wallows here and there where a librarian has nested for the night. Some of them look quite fresh.

Cecil: OK. Just move…move quietly. There could be an actual librarian still roaming around…

Molly: There is a librarian! It sees me! It has me trapped in the biography section! There are many books about Helen Hunt. There are also some books about Sean Penn. I have no choice. I will have to fight my way out!

Cecil: No! No no no! You would never survive! Just…just pretend that you don’t exist and hope that the librarian shares your delusion.

Molly: Oh, it’s too late! I have my fencing sword in my hand. Say goodbye to my mother. Wherever she buried herself after the mine closed, I’ll do her proud.

Cecil: Yes. I…I will.

Molly: And say goodbye to my best friend Joan, and my second-best friend Jamie, and my tied-for-third best friends Xerxes and Hasad. Wish them well on their artisanal upholstery business. Cover those chairs, my sweetest friends. Cover those chairs!

Cecil: OK.

Molly: And say goodbye to the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in My Home. I don’t know what I would have done without her. Well, probably mostly the same things I always did, because I didn’t know she was there until she started running for mayor. And now…you know, now I’m not clear how she’s secretly living anywhere. How is it a secret, at this point? Ask her that. Kind of…kind of smirk while you do. Lean back and cross your arms.

Little bit more. Yeah, just like that. Do that for me.

Cecil: OK. Is– is that…

Molly: And say goodbye to Cecil. Tell him his voice is like swimming in a clear, cold underground river.

Cecil: No, I am Cecil, and…

Molly: Tell him that for me! Tell him for me.

All right, I’m going in. This will be a perilous and lengthy struggle. We will be intertwined in a gruesome embrace until one of us dies. Maybe hours from now, maybe days.

For Night Vale!

Oh…augghhhh! [struggles]

Cecil: To the family of intern Molly Quinn…

Bonus Track: Intern Wil Whaton

Intern Wil: Hello, Cecil?

Cecil: Intern Wil? Well, it’s wonderful to hear from you again. Are you in the library?

Wil: Yes. I found my way into the library. It’s very dark in here. The construction crew is standing over the collapsed scaffolding, poking at it with sticks, and…and ordering it to put itself back together again. Their antennas are in the non-aggressive position, so I don’t think they realize the danger they’re in.

Cecil: Wh– Be careful, Wil! But also, be closer to the story. Be much closer, and tell us what you see.

Wil: I am…I’m walking between the shelves. There are books all around me. I don’t feel safe around so many books. Uh, there are small wallows here and there where a librarian has nested for the night. Some of them look quite fresh.

Cecil: OK. Move quietly. There could be a librarian…

Wil: There is a librarian! It’s seen me! It…it has me trapped in the biography section. Uh, there are many books here about Helen Hunt. There…there are also some books about Sean Penn. I have no choice. I will have to fight my way out.

Cecil: No! You would never survive! Just pretend that you don’t exist and hope that the librarian shares your delusion.

Wil: It’s too late, Cecil. I have my fencing sword in hand. Say goodbye to my mother. Wherever she buried herself after the mine closed, I will do her proud.

Cecil: I will make sure…

Wil: And say goodbye to my best friend Joanne, and my second-best friend Jamie, and my tied-for-third best friends Xerxes and Hasad. Wish them well on their artisinal upholstery business. Cover those chairs, my sweetest friends. Cover those chairs!

Cecil: OK.

Wil: And say goodbye to the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in My Home. I don’t know what I would have done without her. I…perhaps mostly the same things I always did? Because I didn’t know she was there until she started running for mayor. And now I’m not clear how she’s secretly living anywhere? How is it a secret, at this point? Ask her that. Uh, kind of smirk a little bit when you do. Like, lean back and cross your arms, too.

Yeah, a little more. Great. Yes. Yes. Do that for me.

Cecil: OK. All right. Now…

Wil: And say goodbye to Cecil. Tell him his voice is like swimming in a clear, cold underground river.

Cecil: Now, wait a minute, I am Cecil!

Wil: Tell him for me! Tell him!

All right, I’m going in. This will be a perilous and lengthy struggle. We will be intertwined in a gruesome embrace until one of us dies. Maybe hours from now, maybe days.

For Night Vale!

Yaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! Hahaaaaaaaaa! [struggles]

Cecil: To the family of intern Wil Wheaton…

Bonus Track: Louie Blasko’s Music Moment

Cecil: Listeners, here, though, is something to be excited about. We are introducing a brand new segment. It is “Louie Blasko’s Music Moment.”

And now, let’s bring out Louie himself.

Louie Blasko: Thanks for having me.

Cecil: Now, Louie, last time we heard, you had burned down your music shop for the insurance money and then skipped town. Um, how was that?

Louie: Thanks for having me.

Cecil: And since then, you have been appearing in frightened children’s mirrors to teach them the basics of music theory and some simple bluegrass licks before, uh, taking their souls with you into the dark of the mirror world. Is that right?

Louie: You know, thank you so much for having me.

Cecil: Wonderful. All right, Louie. Let’s learn some bluegrass!

Louie: Right. Hello, listeners! Thanks for having me. I want to start out with something really, really simple. This is a basic G major scale.

[weakly and scratchily sings a note, twice, the second time until his voice fades as he runs out of air]

Cecil: Great! Um, that seems really easy!

Louie: Yeah, you have no idea how easy it can be. So, now that we know a G major scale, we can start doing some simple bluegrass licks around those notes. Here’s a real easy one.

[a cacophony of sound from an accordion]

Cecil: Wow, I think…I think even somebody like an old fumble-hands like me could handle that one, right?

Louie: It’s amazing what the human body is capable of. So now, let’s take everything we’ve learned so far, and try putting it all together. Check this out.

[the cacophony of accordion noise accompanies the following screaming dialogue]

No! No! Noooo! No! They couldn’t see me! They will not find me! Make them close their eyes! Make them close their eyes! There’s a light I can’t put out. There is a light I could never put out!

[screams]

Make them close their eyes! Make them close their eyes!

[a final chord ends the accordion music]

So you see, it’s really, really easy to take these basic elements and recombine them to make something original, catchy, and fun.

Cecil: Yeah! You know, for a second there I could actually see nothing at all. That’s fun!

Louie: Well yes, uh, thanks for having me. I’ll see you again soon. I’ll see all of you again real soon. Thanks for having me. Thanks. I’ll see you all soon.

Cecil: Wow. Thank you, Louie! Haha!

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