Sunday, April 3, 2011

Good Morning Australia

Guy Linklater is confident. Four years of University journalism under his belt and now out in the big wide world, he dreams of his seductive voice being heard across the country on National Radio. Then (he has his future all mapped out), graduating to television as the nation's hottest Anchorman.  Shit yeah, why not. He's handsome, chiseled and ready to take on the world.

He's positive that good looks, debonair style and dulcet tones will see him grasp that elusive on air position at Radio 5AK where 'We Hit News First'. Youthful arrogance oozes from every pore. He's landed a decent junior reporter traineeship and has high hopes of boffing Sandra Kerney the traffic reporter. C'mon, she's hot! Even though she did swirl round and deck him on the face for stroking her arse by the water cooler.  The thought that she has a lover hadn't entered his arrogant little head and the cocky pissant hadn't even checked her hand for a wedding band. Insult to injury was added when the producers announced she could slide into sports for 2 hours on a Saturday even though she didn't know a bat from a ball. Ah the beauty of radio.   "Fuckit" he thinks. He might have actually articulated the curse before shutting his cake hole, "There goes any hope of another bonkable bimbo waxing lyrical over cumulonimbus and national rainfall averages."

Then there's always Tracy Ballard. They'd had a bit of a 'thing' at the Christmas party. At least in his own head. She'd planted wet lips on his. after six margaritas, and he took it as interest. His returning grope had missed her shoulder and planted fair and square on a pert-nippled boob which didn't offer any satisfaction, just a little one-way titillation (pardon the pun)  but he 'knows' she thinks he's a catch.  She's the co-host of the "Brekky show with Ballard and Bendix", all preened and prissy with an American smile and lash extensions, "Kind of a waste when nobody sees you," he'd thought but her tits are real. He's seen her working out in the company gym.  Just the right amount of wobble to the point that he can imagine her on top of him yelling "Ooh baby, yeh baby, fuck me hard! . ." He thinks "Do women actually say that during sex?" Then dismisses the thought because he really doesn't care what women think during sex as long as they're on top of him. Although none of the bimbos he's bonked said much at all. He'd like a screamer or at least a moaner.  But oh yeah, those puppies? They're worth the flirt. Although in all seriousness - he'd be like a collie chasing a car and not quite sure what to do with them if he ever laid hands on them.

He'd come from the burbs, wet behind the ears and eagerly wearing his 'Gen Y' badge on every occasion.  But sitting in his cubicle scrounging for stories about stranded cats and old people dying alone at home, the dream has shattered as he plods along in the job from Hell. Now there's a bitterness that leaves the taste of sick in his mouth. "Link, you're not a reporter. You've never been a reporter and you're not likely to ever be a reporter!" His editor had bellowed after the lad's last attempt to grab attention with a scoop. At the same time lamenting the young man's posturing because he has a voice like chocolate and would be perfect for the graveyard shift or 'lurve' dedications.

His downfall had come after conjuring up a story about a celebrity sperm bank and persuading 'the sound guy' to tape the rich and famous, even though the players had been carefully selected voice-over doubles. Each meticulously recorded entering the dubious 'facility' and their expressions of 'relief' as they ogled porn and wanked into a specimen jar. The tape was snapped up without thought by the sensationalist station for which he worked. "Joe public's gonna love this shit!" the same editor had enthusiastically spewed. "Awesome audio Linklater! Well done!"  It's the first time his superior had articulated his whole surname and he felt oh so important. The story made headlines on breakfast radio. Drivers queuing in the morning traffic choke on the M2 grimacing at the thought of being caught in such a personal moment. For many, wanking would never be the same. For some the sound byte was a turn on, to which morning commuters on the passing Hillsbus can testify as they gaze down on aroused drivers.  It would have carried too, if one of the doubles hadn't demanded more money and exposed him on a rival station's show.

Linklater had a small budget to buy over informants with which he'd paid his voice doubles, but this was way out of his league and the scam hit his credibility hard.  His little escapade led to a career smashing demotion. He was lucky really, only his voice potential prevented him from being fired. Now he's  little more than coffee boy with the auspicious title of 'Research Assistant'. Poor little mite is seething

"Yep mum, it's all going fine!" he chirps into his iPhone, "They've promoted me. Likely to be on morning radio before too long." His mother coos proudly in the background, her little lad on radio. Aww, that'll give the girls something to talk about at Tennis. Unaware of the lie in his voice. She's a happy camper as he ends the call and plots revenge.

The bellowing editor might have stripped his pride, but he forgot to liberate the young pup of his 24 hour security access. Reporters slip into the office at all hours to post stories or access their research. This little faux pas provides Linklater with an opportunity.

Purchasing the gas is a doddle. It's readily available and the size of the soundproof room so diminutive that not much is needed. The studio's a mess and hiding the canisters behind the desk no problem.  The trigger mechanism? Now that's slightly harder. How does he release the stuff without actually being in the room?

Inside the studio is a Myriad audio desk, three screens and overhead microphones. There's space behind the ISDN unit. The soundproof room has a shelf along three walls which cast an even shadow.  But to be realistic, the DJ's are going to be so absorbed with their equipment and egos, they won't even notice the grey metallic container. He smirks a little because basically, people don't notice what they don't expect to see. Slight of hand. Magicians rule by it and DJ's are talking heads, not towering intellects. The rest of the office will be bustling with activity. Jesus, he could put a naked woman in the corner and the idiot's wouldn't notice.

All that's left is the trigger. Thank God for Google. And the 'Automatic Remote Gas Calibrator Instruction Manual' integrated with knowledge already learned during lazy summer holidays on his Grandfather's farm. He'd become familiar with the gas guns, operated remotely to frighten cockatoos from the citrus crop.

The trigger mechanism can be operated from his keyboard on command simply by bridging the trigger input terminals together. It's an inricate set-up but he's done it before. By placing a switch that has normally open contacts in the appropriate position, he can ensure that when the studio door opens the gas will escape. Shutting the door won't interrupt the flow, only reopening will halt the process.  If the switch contacts remain closed, the gas will keep firing until the switch contact is activated again. All that's reaquired is the studio door is open, then shut. "Oh shit yeah", he's almost having a wet dream over the prospect.  The timer is set and he can activate the thing whenever he wants from his cubicle. They'll have their headphones on and won't hear the hiss.  They'll be listening to callers talking about the traffic and whining about the new carbon tax.

Tracey Ballard and Alan Bendix arrive early, unaware of the Gen Y saboteur hidden by the ergonomic workstation. They look like shit. Good thing about radio, you can look like shit and everyone remembers how you look in your press photos. "Fuck it Ballard, this wine night thing on Thursdays. . ." She glares at him, "Shut up, just 'cos you can't hold your booze you fucking moaner." They aren't the best of friends and they aren't in the best of moods. "My fucking head's gonna explode you cheap shit!" She glares again, "Who are you calling cheap! Cork sniffer?" The aggro banter continues as  they move into the studio, take position, review the run sheet, don their cans and crank up the units. "Fuck me to Friday I just wanna be in bed," Bendix complains, "Alan, if you don't stop friggin' whinging I'm gonna out your royal gayness on national radio!"  He lowers his head in sheepish submission and goes quiet. They take their places. Bendix downs a Barocca and feigns  his "Good morning Australia" smile. Stupid, because nobody sees it, although there are those who swear they can tell you're smiling by the tone of your voice.

Linklater is at his desk, the red light above the studio door goes on and he raps out instructions on his keyboard. Silent but frantic. He carouses over to the studio door, opens it, puts two fingers to his lips with one hand and waves submission with the other in a "Shh . . . God I'm sorry" motion and clicks the door shut. The gas begins to flow.

"What the fuck was that!" The editor is fuming to the point where the tiny broken veins on a nose which has obviously been affected by years of imbibing, turn purple. "What?" A myriad of heads bob above the partitions in the office. "Turn on the fucking loudspeakers and listen to this shit!"

The room explodes in rambunctious laughter. Bendix and Ballard, vocal chords relaxed by the escaping helium are sounding like cartoon characters. Clearly their headphones on, unaware of their staccato and elevated voices for just a few seconds until the shame of it all sinks in. They're, sounding like Pinky and the Brain, discussing the shock waves of the Libyan invasion and no 90 second delay will save them.

Millions of commuters stuck in the bumper-to-bumper on the M2 are smiling.

Linklater, sits quietly, researching stories about cats stuck in trees and old people dying alone. His career prospects are looking up.


  1. hehe...if you cant beat them, gas them. interesting story. stylistically a little different...some very clipped sentences int he middle less prosey than usual

  2. From Hell to breakfast? I don't get it. Still some comma issues, but the prose is tighter than what you normally write.

    And it's cumulonimbus. What's Sandra's phone number?

  3. haha. i do like some of your little metaphors and thingies. good stuff...glad he didnt blow them up, tho.

  4. Fun. Talk about a case of arrested development. Link is how old? 22 or so going on 12. I was feeling sorry for the on-air folks until they opened their mouths walking into the office. At that point, I decided they had it coming. Really nice twist at the end.

    But, where's the muse in all this?

  5. The muse? Hellish Job . . Breakfast radio. OK it's obscure, granted.