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Douglas Sovern Co-Anchors


she has to do is speak. It doesn’t really matter what comes out of her mouth: the traffic, the weather, the rise of a stock, the fall of a government. Her words fill the studio like runaway parade balloons snapped loose from their tethers and careering straight for his head. He dodges as many as he can, but invariably some land inside his ears and lodge there, refusing to grant him peace, like tiny word insects stuck and buzzing in his eardrums, impossible to kill. She snaps a sheet of

paper across the console at him, the dull wire copy she’s chosen for him to read next, deigning to grant him thirty seconds of airtime for every two minutes of hers. The page floats to the floor, much closer to her than him. She makes no move to get it as she clears her throat and turns her microphone back on. He bends down to retrieve his next ninetyseven words. As she prattles on, so oblivious to the aural pain she is causing, he fantasizes about perhaps standing too close to the speaker

stacks at a really loud rock concert so that he will develop tinnitus, a shrill and constant ringing in the ear that drowns out all normal speech. Most consider it an unbearable disability, but at this moment he would welcome it. He spends five hours a day trapped with her inside this much-too-tiny booth, pretending, for the benefit of a million radio listeners, to be best friends, congenial colleagues, partners in delivering the news of the day. He wonders how many of those pairs of ears bleed like his at the

Crack the Spine - Issue 115  

Literary Magazine