Ghost Radio

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This won’t happen if you can afford to buy new.

Submitted: April 02, 2015

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Submitted: April 02, 2015



The house I live in was built in 1962 by a NASA scientist.  He was also a ham radio enthusiast to the extreme.  When I bought the house, the crawlspace was filled with wires and cables running everywhere.  Several of the closets had metal panels covered with cable connectors.  In the office is a ten foot countertop where he kept his equipment.  The wall behind it has 16 electrical outlets, two phone outlets, and four outlets that had wires running up from the crawlspace.

Over the years I’ve cleaned up a lot of that stuff.  Like the concrete pad in the back yard with a stout metal post where the radio antenna was attached.  I had to beat that out of the ground with a sledge hammer.  I buried the chunks of concrete and the pole where I built up a pond enclosure.

In the kitchen there was a shortwave radio in the wall.  The kind where you could get stations from distant countries at night.  It was still working when I bought the house.  A few years ago, I turned the knob and realized it had died.  I decided it was time to pull it out and patch the wall.  After that I would paint the kitchen, it needed it after I had removed the tacky wallpaper.

It didn’t take long to pull out the radio.  I cut the wires and stuffed them back into the wall.  I put the radio out in the garage.  It was covered with vacuum tubes that looked in good condition.  I decided I’d take the radio to the old fashioned electronics shop downtown and give it to them.  I knew some of those tubes were in demand by radio enthusiasts.

I spent some time installing supports inside the hole left by the radio.  The glue would be dry by tomorrow.  The next step is to attach a piece of drywall to the supports.  Then putty and sandpaper will get the spot ready for painting.

Later that evening, I passed out on the couch as usual.  And woke up after a few hours as usual.  Getting old sucks.  But it wasn’t the TV I was hearing when I woke up.  I had been watching the Golf Channel.  They don’t play Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley during reruns of last week’s tournaments.

Muting the TV proved the sound wasn’t coming from there.  As soon as I stood up, the music faded out.  I noticed a glow coming through the window in the door to the garage.  It was dimming as I entered the garage, but I could still see a faint glow in the vacuum tubes.  By the time I bent down over the radio, the glow was gone.  But the tubes were warm to the touch.

How could that be?  Radios run on electricity.  I had cut the wires.  I had also drank a six pack and a couple of shots of Jim Beam and was in no mood for mysteries.  I went back to the couch and fell asleep.

And woke up again, two hours later.  This time, to the sound of Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash.  Same glow coming through the window.  I’d had enough.  I wrapped the radio in a blanket, put it in a box, and sealed it up with duct tape.  I locked the box in a cabinet in the shed in the back yard.

I didn’t hear any more extraneous radio that night, and eventually I drifted off for another bout of sleep.

The next day I drove the radio to the electronics shop.  They were happy to receive the gift.  I didn’t mention anything about the King or the Man in Black.

I really wasn’t surprised when I read that the electronics shop went out of business a few weeks later.

© Copyright 2018 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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