Saturday, October 9, 2010

Night Beat Redux

So last night I fell asleep listening to Old Time Radio on my iPhone and I had the strangest dream.

RANDY: I'm Randy Stone. I cover the night beat for a major Chicago Metropolitan Daily. It's a different world after dark. The people you meet aren't the movers and shakers - they're just a little off-center, sometimes a little busted-up. Case in point, last night. I stopped at Joe's Diner and noticed a skinny little guy. He was gazing into a rectangle of black glass, stabbing at it with his fingers.

ME: (muttering) What the heck, friend him.

RANDY: Hey mister, you okay?

ME: Huh?

RANDY: I noticed you were attacking that piece of glass. Maybe you better put it down and pick up a hot coffee.

ME: Glass? (laughs) Oh no, this isn't glass, it's my phone.

RANDY: It's your phone, huh? Dial fall off?

ME: Oh yeah, it's only 1949. You must be Randy Stone, as portrayed by Frank Lovejoy.

RANDY: Who?

ME: Sorry, went meta on you.

RANDY: I don't get you mister.

ME: This is my phone. I know it doesn't look like a phone, but it is.

RANDY: It's not connected to anything.

ME: It's wireless... uh, like a radio.

RANDY: That so mister? You might be a good story. Mind if I sit down?

ME: Sure. It's not just a phone, you know.

RANDY: No?

ME: It's a phone and a radio. And a typewriter! And a camera. And a television.

RANDY: Come on.

ME: A color television! And come to think of it, it's a television studio! And a library, and a record player.

RANDY: It must weigh a thousand pounds. I'm surprised it isn't also an adding machine.

ME: Actually, it's a whole goddam computer. Like Univac, only a thousand times more powerful.

RANDY: You get home and get to sleep, mister.

(MUSIC PLAYS)

RANDY: I left the guy behind at the table. He wasn't hurting anyone but himself anyway. But that's the kind of guy you meet at night in this town - dreamers, fools, poets and kings - even kings of their own little made-up kingdom, where a piece of glass is all you need to build an empire.

(SFX: PAPER PULLED FROM TYPEWRITER)

RANDY: Copy boy!

(MUSIC SWELLS, AND OUT)

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