by Emma Redmer
Genre: Uhh, good question. Vignette? Drama? Rambling interlude?
Disclaimer: Radio Station WENN and all of its inhabitants belong to Rupert Holmes.
I was born in 1929. I know the date, because I've heard the humans who created me mention it. Time is a reletive thing to a building. Humans call it time, but we simply call it passing. We live. We pass, with or without something inside of us. We either are "preserved" or we're "demolished". I don't know about time, but I do know how humans pass time. When I was first built, humans drove long, fat, moving buildings called cars. They wore long, fluffy coats that made them look like large versions of the sharp-toothed animals that also resided in me. The females, the ones who wore things called skirts, always wore skirts. Other humans complained when they wore these skirts too high. They had very short fur called bobs and talked about flapping.
There were times when human females wore skirts shorter than my birth year and talked about the rights of humans with darker brick tone. There were times when they drew strange markings on my side and listened to odd music with lots of words that humans didn't like other humans saying. There were times when the cars were very, very long and had bright colors and sharp objects that the humans called "fins". The females all wore very fluffy skirts. The males sported plain suit things and briefcases.
The time I remember best, and that I'm best remembered for, is the 40s time. This was after the bobs and the flapping, but before the protests and the rainbow cars. I loved then. Something always went on in me. A group of humans had something called a "radio station". "Radios" are square objects, not unlike TVs, but for listening instead of seeing and listening. I watched the humans fiddle with the contraptions many times. It had a nob that you turned, and you could hear different "stations". The "station" in me was the one I heard the most, of course.
Radio Station WENN began in 1930. Being a building, I'm not normally good at remembering dates, but I do recall the day WENN began. It was September 24th, 1930. The lawyer's office that was originally housed in the rooms moved to a fancier building down the street. Nine humans and many strange things replaced them. One worked the electric thing called a "switchboard". Another worked another electric thing, the "controls". One wrote words. One kept me clean and gave the humans something called "food" from the flashy little building next to me that called itself "The Buttery". Three worked around tall, round objects called "microphones". These "microphones" sent their voices and words to all of Pittsburgh.
They were gradually replaced by others, and those who replaced them are the ones I recall the best. Victor, the one whose fur looked like it was plucked out, always had ideas. He made up all of the "shows" they spoke to the Pittsburgh "audience". Hilary and Jeff were very noisy...sometimes. Other times, they were very nice to each other. The two of them (Hilary in particular) always looked like they were built in the middle of a row of mansions. Jeff was Hilary's "husband", although it was a matter that was frequently in dispute. I think they disputed the "husband" thing more than they presented shows.
Mackie Bloom was often in the middle of their arguing. He was a very small male human with fur on his lips. He was the "charactor actor", which meant he could be anything, from a skyscraper to a family home. The one who played the music on that funny organ thing, Eugenia, reminded me of the fancy home buildings that humans made for themselves during the time called the Victorian era. She was frilly and gentle, but very sturdy and extremely sweet. The little yellow-furred human called C.J worked the controls, and two older humans, Gertie and Mr. Eldridge, who handled the switchboard and ran errands.
Time passed, and two female humans arrived. One, Betty, was from a place I never heard of. (I think it was called Elkheart, but Victor used to call it other names, too, so I'm not sure.) She was very nice, and very smart. She helped fix a show on her very first day, when the old human Gianetti drank too much of the bad oil humans call whisky. Hilary said he was running a little distillary, which he wasn't. I knew some distillaries on North Gedney, and they looked nothing like me! Betty stayed and wrote all of the shows and helped Victor.
Another new human came a little while later. It was another female human, Celia. She had fancy walls like Hilary and Jeff, and long yellow fur. She didn't look like she came from one of the high-class mansions, though. Maybe more like one of those big places called "department stores", the ones that sold lots of items. She said that she came from one of the mansions, but she only worked for them. She later went to a place called "Hollywood" that was very far away. Victor went somewhere called "London" not long before Celia left.
After Victor left, another human arrived. He was called Scott Sherwood. He glowed like the marquee on the movie theater on the end of the street. He had shiny black fur and fancy suits. He always did exciting things, like making up his own news stories. He once went outside me, on my ledge! It tickled! I never had a human walk there before! I thought he was going to fall and demolish himself, but he was smart and got back inside. I think he enjoyed it. I know I did. The only things that ever walk on my ledges are "pigeon" animals. A new human came that day, too. She called herself Maple, after the trees that grew on North Gedney. She had flashy, bright walls, like the Buttery, and played music, like Eugenia.
Victor was demolished in London with many innocent buildings, or so we thought. An awful object called a "bomb" fell on him and Jeff. Jeff came back, but he had loud things called "nightmares". They were scary. I heard them once when all of the humans had to stay in me for a long time. They were happy about it at first. They made something called "spaghetti" that felt slimy (Hilary threw some on one of my walls) and sang and did movements called "dancing". They didn't like staying longer, and neither did I. I liked having time to myself, and the humans made such a mess! They scraped up my floors with their shoe things. Hilary and Jeff weren't the only ones who yelled at each other that week!
My favorite time was called Christmas. The humans hung bright green garlands and red berries on me. They put "wreaths" on my doors and decorated a tall, spiky thing called a "Christmas Tree" with colorful glass and paper balls. Mackie dressed up as a fat red and white human called "Santa Claus", and lots of small humans trampled across me to see him. One Christmas, they had to take all these things down. Two humans called Pruitt and Gloria said they couldn't put them up. Gloria didn't want to think about Christmas, because her husband was demolished the Christmas before. Pruitt didn't like Christmas or anything else, including WENN and me. I don't think he was a very nice human. He looked like an ugly old granite office building.
Victor came back. Betty was the only one who knew besides me. No one was supposed to know that Victor came back. He was doing something important for "the government". Scott had "secrets", too. From what I gathered, he'd done something very bad called "lying". Betty didn't like his lying. She slapped him and made him leave. I missed him, but he came back when Jeff left to go to that "London" place. Hilary was very, very upset! She tried to use "handcuffs" to make Jeff stay, but he got away.
Scott stayed for a long time. Jeff and Victor and Pruitt all came back, too. Pruitt came back after Scott lied. He was gone a lot, but apparently he did something very, very bad. He pulled out a loud object called a "gun" on Betty. He worked for bad humans called "Nazis". Nazis were the worst sort of humans on WENN's shows. They made Victor try to shoot Betty, but he shot Pruitt instead! I really didn't like Pruitt now. This red stuff called "blood" dripped on my floor and never did come out. They sent him to a place called "prison".
Victor didn't stay for very long. He always went to a place called "Washington". He went there permently after what the humans called "World War II". He stayed in a place called "The Capital". Scott left during "World War II", too. He went to a tiny place called Japan. He came back, and became Betty's husband, but he was never really the same. He was quiet, and he didn't glow. He had "nightmares", too. Jeff and Hilary stayed and argued and became husband and "wife" again and had lots of little humans, males and females. They made noise and ran up and down my hallways and smooshed crayon-things on my walls. Scott and Betty had little humans, too. People in funny walls called "sailors" and "officers" often visited me. They were noisy and silly. They left quickly, though. Sometimes, they helped with the shows.
C.J was demolished in the war. Mr. Foley, the little quiet man who played with all the funny objects, became Eugenia's husband. They had lots of little humans, too. Oh, I was so crowded then! I felt more like a school building than a radio station. Humans were always walking up and down my floors, chattering, running, doing things. The little humans grew into big humans and started to leave for other buildings.
Everyone went away when radio wasn't popular anymore. "TV", the seeing and listening object, now had shows. Radio didn't need shows like WENN's. WENN was demolished in the 60s era. The last show on the air was the one the humans called "The Hands of Time". Hilary and Jeff were the last humans to leave, and they were arguing as loudly as the first day they arrived.
I was other things after that. An insurance office bought me when old Mr. Eldridge finally demolished. They left in the 70s time, right before the radio store finally gave out. A dance-movement studio was in me for a little while. They were hard on me! The dancers always jumped and did things called "pirouettes". I was kind of happy when they left.
I was empty after that. Many of the other buildings around me were demolished. The Buttery was long replaced with a building that sold the black music disks (and later, the small grey music disks). I thought I was going to be demolished, too. Nothing but little furry rat things and pigeons lived in me. I was full of dust and cobwebs. My floors were cracked, and my walls were sore.
I wasn't, or I wouldn't be telling you this story. A group of humans said that I was a "historic building" and wanted to "preserve" me! They wanted to re-open WENN and have a radio station and shows again. Apparently, they listened to WENN shows on their radios and liked them and wanted to make more. I waited eagerly as two people walked into the rooms. They were called Helen and Jerry and they were arguing a blue streak. Apparently, they were going through something called a "divorce". Two big humans carried in an organ. A small man with a mustace and the blue walls called "jeans" carried in some microphones. I could feel the excitment running through the humans. One human, Steven, asked a female in "overalls", Elizabeth, on a "date". She was going to say no, but she changed her mind at the last minute.
Everyone got into place. Helen glared at Jerry and Elizabeth shushed them as the man in jeans announced "And WENN is back on the air with all of your favorite easy listening and big band requests, as well as old and new episodes of your favorite shows. We'll begin today's programming with 'The Hands of Time'."
Helen sighed. "I thought there was no way to turn back the hands of time, and here we are, things exactly as they used to be, the two of us together again, and forever."
I couldn't have said it better if I could actually speak. It was the WENN time again, and this time, maybe it would last forever.
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