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Going Wiggy, Creative Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1076

Creative Essay

The clock talked to him in April, but that was okay–it was an alarm clock with a radio, so when he heard voices from it at six in the morning it seemed normal.  He’d smack the red snooze button hard with the flat of his hand and go right back to sleep.  The voices would follow him into dreamland:  smooth DJ cadences talking about the weather and the economy, both bad, giving him dreams about falling barometers and falling stock markets, falling, falling, falling…

But that was April, when he still had a job and still had a girl.

That was April, early spring and everything copacetic.

May was when things got a little wiggy.  That’s what people called it, back in the day. Wigging out, another phrase for going crazy.

I’m not crazy, he told himself as he tried to fall asleep on the fold-out couch in the TV room. He hadn’t slept in his own bed for weeks. Because of the radio, see?  The clock radio that wouldn’t stop talking.

“You’re a failure,” it said in the voice of Miss Merry Morning, the a.m. DJ on KCRW.

“You’re a slob,” it said in a gravelly rumble that sounded kinda like his high school gym teacher, back in the day when people said “wiggy” instead of saying “crazy.”

It was all crazy.  Nuts.  Koo-koo.  Pick your flavor, say the words–they all meant the same damn thing.  He was cracking up.  No, correction.  He had cracked up, and now he was like Humpty Dumpty fallen off the wall of sanity with no one around to pick up the pieces.

“No one will ever love you,” the radio sang from the back bedroom.  It sounded like Jane, but she had left three weeks ago on a May morning that smelled like sunshine and optimism and everything’s-gonna-be-okay.  He hadn’t spoken to her since she’d marched right out the front door with her suitcase in one hand and the cat carrier in the other.  He’d always hated that cat–Shabby, she called it–but he’d loved her.

An obsessive-compulsive, she’d called him, and now the radio mocked her voice and echoed back her hateful words, teasing him, goading him on.

“Just throw it away, Dave,” she’d said, back in April, when things had still seemed fine.  “If the damn radio bugs you so much, pitch it. ”

But he couldn’t.  Not until he understood.

It wasn’t like he hadn’t tried, back in the early days.

He’d awoken on a Monday, almost a month ago, and heard the radio telling him to set his apartment on fire, kill his girl, strangle the cat.  Had thought it was a dream and hit the snooze button.  The radio voice only got louder, more intense.  More…personal.  Told him about his boss who was cooking the books at work and about his girl, Jane, who had found herself a new fella who went to the gym three times a week and didn’t need an alarm clock to wake up.

Still half asleep, Dave had ripped the alarm clock from the wall.  The radio voice had paused its strange litany for only a moment, said, “Don’t do that, Dave.  We were having a conversation.”  Then launched back into stories about Jane and the muscle-bound gym jock.  The silky, somehow familiar radio voice had continued on even as Dave bolted from the apartment, terrified.

Somehow he’d managed to carry on.  For a day, a week, two weeks, maybe.  Muffled his ears with cotton balls.  Taken to sleeping in the TV room, the bathroom, his car.

Jane started saying he was weird.  Said she couldn’t hear anything.  Accused him of taking the radio out of the dumpster beside their apartment after she’d taken it out with the trash.

But it wasn’t true.  It wasn’t his fault.

The damn thing just kept reappearing.  Always the same, with the red button on top and the flashing red numbers and the little radio dial on the bottom.  Smash it with a hammer and throw the pieces in the ocean, and it’d still be on his nightstand where it had always been before by the time dawn rolled into day.

Dave couldn’t say when his relationship with the radio turned from fear into interest, from repulsion into attraction.  Maybe the morning that it talked to him about his mother and he found his fingers around Jane’s thin neck?  Or the morning that he threw Shabby against the bedroom wall, totally convinced that it was the talking radio until he heard it mewl?

Dave didn’t know.  Time had gotten…wiggy.

So here he was, no girl, no job, no cat.  Nothing but the radio.

“End of the world’s coming, Davy,” his father whispered from its tiny speakers.

“Time to get a move on, time to do something,” Shabby hissed as the radio volume rose to echoing heights.

“Time,” the DJ man shouted.

“Time,” his mother screamed.

“Time.  Is.  Running.  Out.”

That last from a voice that was unmistakably belonged to his boss, Kevin.

Which was wiggy-wiggy-weird for sure because, as the saying went, dead men told no tales, and Kevin had been toes up corpseland for at least a week, maybe two.

It was his own damn fault.

“You shouldn’t have fired me,” Dave muttered, not really sure whether he was speaking aloud or hearing his own thoughts echoing out of the hated, hellish, but oh-so-alluring radio.  “It was a bullshit job.  Who cares if I was late?  I didn’t care that you cheated the IRS?  Why couldn’t we have come to an understanding?”

“Because you’re a crazy person,” Kevin said, sounding as raspy and garbled as he had in the final moments before Dave’s fingers had sunk deep into his neck and his eyes had rolled up in his head.  “You’re nuts, and you don’t understand anything!”

“Fuck it,” Dave said.  “And fuck you, Kevin.”

Kevin’s opinion didn’t matter.  And neither did Jane’s or his father’s or the damn cat’s.  Because Dave thought he understood the radio — not why it had begun speaking just to him or why it teased him so terribly — but a deep down primal understanding.  It was a voice–call it the God in the machine–that had marked him as someone special.  Someone important.

And it might talk a lot of bullshit today, but there was tomorrow to think about, and the day after that, and so on and so on.

One day, maybe soon, it was going to tell him exactly why he was the chosen one.  It would give him a mission, a purpose.

And it would be glorious.

Smiling, Dave closed his eyes and listened to the radio sing, waiting for the word.

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

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