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Behavior Unbecoming A Journalist

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Brad was something of a living legend at Night Vale Community Radio. Except Dana, whose employment status was shaky, only two interns had ever made it through their tenure alive- for certain values of the word alive. Brad was the only one to have been hired by the radio station after his internship, despite what it may have said in the brochure, and no one knew quite how. It was one thing to work with Cecil, a Night Vale celebrity, but Brad was maybe more awe-inspiring.

It was almost certainly the dark magic.

He led Ty, the station's newest intern, on the standard tour, pointing out the equipment rooms, the offices, the break room/intern memorial, all the highlights of the little station. Finally he took her into the recording studio, where the real action was happening. Her eyes went wide as she took it all in, the lights and the consoles, and, in profile, Cecil himself, behind the plate glass of the recording booth. He was mid-broadcast, and he looked about like Ty had imagined- calm, friendly, with a pleasant smile on his face.

"Cecil controls most of the show himself, so there's not much to worry about on this end," Brad told her, and she looked down at the board. "This is the control for the talkback mic. Don't touch it except if there's an emergency and the doorknob to the booth has melted again. The booth is soundproof, of course, and you can't actually listen to the radio from inside the station." Brad pressed a button on the console. "So you just use these speakers when you want to hear the-"

"You listen here, Steve Carlsberg," Cecil sneered.

"Uh oh," Brad said, flicking the speaker off again.

"What?" Ty asked.

"He sometimes get a little-" Brad pursed his lips, looking for a word. "Explosive."

In the booth, Cecil was getting into it; Ty didn't need the speakers to know that he was close to yelling. Cecil had risen out of his chair, his hands flat on the desk, his fingers clenching and unclenching. It was the look on his face that was the weird thing, though. He didn't look angry, exactly. He looked excited, pleased in a grim way, like he was deeply enjoying himself. Ty had no idea what was going on, and she wasn't really sure she even wanted to.

Cecil's tirade reached a fever pitch, but then very suddenly he was done, sitting back down in his chair. He wore a satisfied look now; his shoulders rose and then slumped, as if he'd let out a big sigh. He said something else, flicking some switches, and the ON AIR light turned off.

"Don't say anything," Brad warned.

Cecil stood up, taking off his headset and walking calmly but firmly out of the booth and out of the studio. Ty held her breath, but Cecil didn't even seem to notice that there were other people in the room.

"When this happens, stay here," Brad told her. "You'll be better off. And whatever you do, don't go into the men's restroom."

Ty frowned. "I wouldn't be in the men's restroom anyway."

"Good," he said. "So, that's Cecil. When he comes back, you can meet him. And, uh, don't worry. He always washes his hands."

"What's that got to do with anything?" Ty asked.

Brad gave her a look that said he couldn't tell if she was ignorant or making fun of him. "Cleanliness is always important," he said unconvincingly.

"Right," she said. "Can't wait to meet him."

"He's great," Brad said. "While he's gone, come in here for a second and I'll show you... the weather."