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Intern Senna and the Unexpected Sick Day

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Hi? Is this thing on? Sorry, I've only been here for three days, and -- hang on, that's my phone -- hello? Oh, hi, Cecil. I'm on air? Cool, I wasn't sure -- of course, yes. Bye!

Okay, so -- hi, Night Vale! I'm Senna, the new intern. As many of you already know, Robert, the previous intern, was among the smallish group of people who wandered out into the desert ten days ago for no apparent reason and vanished without a trace. There have been no further statements made by the Sheriff's Secret Police regarding the matter, and no one has wandered off and disappeared in an unauthorized manner since then, so we at the Night Vale Community Radio feel confident in saying that it's probably nothing to worry about. Uh, there's also a note here from Cecil that I should mention how sorry we all were to hear about Robert's unauthorized disappearance, and that he will be missed. Robert: wherever you are or are not, and whether you can hear us nor not, know that you are missed.

As some but not many of you may also know, I am here today because there was a scheduling error with Cecil's City Council mandated annual sick day, which was supposed to occur on the fifteenth of next month, but two members of the Sheriff's Secret Police stopped by earlier today to point out that by being here at the station and feeling suspiciously well, Cecil was in violation of Night Vale City Council enforced union laws. As it turns out, Cecil's annual sick day this year is, in fact, today. Bummer! Let's all wish him a speedy recovery. While it is, of course, necessary and for our own good to get all the being-sick-in-a-deeply-unpleasant-but-not-terribly-serious-way out of our system in an organized manner, it's rarely fun even for those of us born without pain receptors. In any case, you can be assured that, fully recovered or not, Cecil will be with you again this time tomorrow.

Also a bummer because, due to the aforementioned and unforeseen snag with the scheduling, Cecil did not have time to pre-record tonight's program (aided by the station oracle as well as the soothsayer down Bloodcreek Street, you know the one -- Madam Augury: City Council approved visions and Fairly Adequate bloodstones for very reasonable prices!), which I'm told is the norm as far as Cecil and sick days go. So, I'm standing in for him, and, I really only have his notes here to go by and -- I hope I can do a decent job, I mean, I'm new and this is like, wow, so cool, and I'd hate to disappoint Cecil and also, for the last hour I've been hearing a faint, disgruntled hissing sound -- possibly I'm imagining it -- coming from the direction of Station Management and I really --

Sorry, sorry, that's my phone again. Hello? Cecil! Hi, wow, you sound awful. Uh-huh? No, the doohickey Carlos left here hasn't been doing anything out of the ordinary. The light keeps flashing red like usual. No, it's -- sorry -- my voice just gets high-pitched sometimes when I'm nervous or stressed, I'm really sorry, my mom says it's because of this incident at Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex when I was a kid, only I'm not supposed to mention it because technically it happened -- or rather, did not happen -- on a day that was later cancelled -- right. Sorry, Cecil. Yes, yeah, I can do traffic next. Okay. Thanks, Cecil. Bye!

Sorry about that. My mom told me I wasn't suited for radio but, well, I'm here, aren't I? And Cecil says I'm doing great!

Here's traffic: The color of your car is groovy, but you're going in the wrong direction, and dude, if you keep going, the journey won't matter as much as the destination. You don't want that. Turn back. Turn back, now.

This has been traffic.

Listeners, this just in. Steve Carlsberg has contacted us to let you know that -- you know, on second thought, I'm not sure I have the authority here to make decisions regarding Steve Carlsberg. There's a piece of paper on the bulletin board in the break room with his name and a lot of frowny faces on it, so, anyway. Cecil will probably let you know about this tomorrow if it's important? Moving on!

There has been a minor outbreak of mutated, radioactive spider wasps, but it doesn't seem to be anything anyone should get too worked up about, if I'm reading Cecil's notes correctly. I admit that … I might not be reading them correctly, and as such cannot say with one hundred percent certainty whether we recommend that you stay indoors, or that you go outside and stay there until you've been stung by at least one of these creatures. In any case, this recommendation mainly concerns anyone belonging to a sports team -- the Night Vale Spiderwolves, for example. It is possible that the sting will be fatal, but really. If there's even the slightest chance that a sting might aid us in defeating the far inferior teams from, say, Desert Bluffs (boo!), it's a risk worth taking, is it not? Oh -- except, it's also possible that a sting from a radioactive insect will be ruled as unfair advantage, and then we'd be down a player or five. Does anyone know if there's a precedent that applies here? If you have any information, please go to the Night Vale Community Radio Facebook page and leave us a message!

This is probably a good place to mention that, as per Cecil's notes, Carlos' smile was especially radiant this morning. Actually, I'm not sure if Cecil meant for me to share this. It's written (by nothing that would traditionally be considered a writing instrument, I hasten to add!) on a yellow sticky note, and there's an orange sun drawn in the corner, and it's possible it got mixed up in here by mistake when Cecil gathered up everything I might need tonight and thrust them at me right before he was escorted out of the building by the Secret Police.

I heard Carlos himself mention, yesterday, when he stopped by the station to see Cecil and shoot worried looks at the doohickey with the flashing red light, that the radiation levels in Night Vale have been unusually high lately. So that's one possible explanation for Carlos' smile being more radiant than usual! Well, whatever the reason behind it, I'm sure his smile was just as lovely as Cecil says it was, and I'm just as sure neither of them would mind me sharing such positive news with you, listeners. We all need a little sun in our lives. Remember, it's not the radiation that kills you, but the damage done to your cells. It is also possible that via foul, radioactive creatures, we may yet bring forth a winning streak for the Spiderwolves! Radiation -- friend or foe. Possibly both? More on that story as it develops.

Oh, hang on, I better take this -- Hello? Carlos? Hi, yes, this is intern Senna speaking. Is Cecil with you? I know, it's terrible! To have your sick day with so little time to prepare yourself -- poor Cecil. Is he very sick? Oh. Have you tried chanting? It helps sometimes. When my mom was sick, I used to -- well, you can always ask him if -- oh, oh no, really? Okay, sure -- sure, thanks, and call if you need anything. Everyone here at the station will be happy to help in any way we can (within the limits imposed by the City Council, of course). Okay, bye!

Listeners, it's not good news. Carlos just called to let me know -- um, actually, he said that by gesturing and drawing symbols into a small puddle of spilled orange milk Cecil was able to indicate that in the third drawer on the left, there are some more notes he forgot to give me. Just a moment -- no, nope, those are not notes. Well, I'm afraid that despite of what I'm sure was a valiant effort, Carlos was not able to interpret Cecil's message quite correctly. I am not sure how important these misplaced notes are -- should I go through all the drawers? Surely any nook not meant to be looked into by an intern will be locked? But Cecil was in such a hurry -- what if I stumble upon something only the Voice of Night Vale should see and speak of?? Oh, oh, too high, there goes my voice again. Sorry, everyone. Mom -- stop leaving messages on my Wall, I'm fine.

And poor Cecil! As it turns out, his fate on this day is worse than I dared to fear -- according to Carlos, Cecil has lost his voice, unable to do so much as hum, never mind chanting or even croaking. I know that a large percentage of the Night Vale population goes through this on their sick day, but Cecil? I may be new as an intern, and I might be young, but I'm also a long time listener of NVCR in general and Welcome to Night Vale in particular. I'm not ashamed to admit that I had hoped that Cecil, of all people, would be spared. And what's more, it seems that Carlos has not yet had a chance to take the free, City Council provided course in Subvocal Communication, which is both very popular and very practical. I mean, you might only need to use your subvocal language skills on one day of the year, if you're lucky and/or have very few friends and no family -- but in the opinion of this intern, it is still a skill well worth learning. That is, if you and your partner, family, and/or friends are not already fluent in, say, gesturing and rapid eye movement. Communication is super important in every type of relationship!

Well, in any case, by tomorrow evening Cecil should have his voice back, and then Night Vale will have Cecil back, and all will be well. I'm sure that even as I speak, Carlos is doing his very best to take care of Cecil, with or without subvocal communication skills. Perhaps one of his doohickeys will be of help, either with the communication issue or with making Cecil feel better -- but not too much, of course, because the last thing Cecil or Night Vale needs, I'm sure we all agree, is Cecil having to repeat his sick day for not feeling ill enough. Anyway, I'm not sure exactly how Carlos' science works, but it can't hurt to hope it likes Cecil as much as Carlos does.

Now, we've gotten quite a few messages on our Facebook page, but so far there has been no consensus as to how likely it would be for a player stung by a mutated, radioactive spider wasp to be kept from playing, should the player in question survive the sting and then experience beneficial side-effects. I'll keep an eye out for any developments on that. Also -- Steve Carlsberg, please stop leaving messages. When I said any information, I meant information regarding the mutated, radioactive spider wasps, particularly where they overlap with Night Vale sports teams, and most particularly, any positive or negative impact they might have on the Night Vale Spiderwolves. I'm sure Cecil will have a chance to take a look at your emails tomorrow, and address the matter if it's important. Thanks.

And now I give you, the weather!




Something peculiar has happened, listeners. The messages on the Night Vale Community Radio Facebook page, which I could have sworn were real and really there, have vanished. I am feeling slightly miffed, to tell the truth, because real or not, there were some very good points made, I thought. In matters important enough to concern the Spiderwolves --

Oh, uh. Um. There is -- it appears that the City Council has sent us one of their hollow-eyed messenger children -- hang on, it's displaying the backs of its hands, which are covered in dots and lines. The message says … There are no mutated radioactive spider wasps. Stop. Even if they used to exist they do not exist anymore so just let it go. Stop. Do not speak of radiation. Stop. Do not check your sources. Stop.

Well, listeners, it seems as if -- oh, oh no. The messenger child is wandering down the hallway toward the Station Management office -- the same Station Management that has been its usual unseen, unheard self for the past ten minutes, at least! Oh -- oh. Rachel, who (as I'm sure you know) became the afternoon switchboard operator after Jerry was absorbed into Station Management last year, and who has been very kind to me ever since I started my internship here three days ago, has managed to intercept the unsettling child and alter its course. Thank you, Rachel!

There is no movement or sounds from beyond the office door. No envelopes have appeared, either, so I think we're all good here for now.

Ah … what was I saying? Right -- bummer about those mutated, radioactive spider wasps, which do not exist, or if they did, do not exist any longer. I was looking forward to finding out how a sting or two might have benefited the Night Vale Spiderwolves. Not that our team really needs a radioactive edge, mind you -- we're really doing quite well at the moment! -- but I'll never say no to new, improved ways for the Spiderwolves to crush our enemies.

Before I completely forget, what with all the excitement, Carlos called again during the weather. I think that Cecil is already doing very slightly better -- all within acceptable parameters! I'm almost certain that Carlos also tried to explain science to me in small, kind words, but we were short on time, and he was clearly distracted, and I could hear Cecil coughing and making wheezing noises in the background. I confess that my grasp of science remains comfortably vague.

Coming up next -- eight uninterrupted hours of the calm breathing sounds of someone who is in deep, deep sleep. Who is it? It could be you. Find out, soon.

Well, Night Vale, this has been an exiting, terrifying time for me, doing what no intern has done before. But then, all interns, I believe, will -- at one point or another -- do what no intern has done before them. A comforting thought: we are all unique and, one day, easily told apart from one another based on our skeletal remains.

This is intern Senna, signing out. In honor of Cecil, who will be back with us tomorrow, and whose absence this night has surely left its marks in all of us -- I will now end this program as he would and will again tomorrow night.

Good night, Night Vale.

Good night.