Open Lines By Jeremy Maddux is late night talk-show madness. It’s madness in the airwaves, it’s drama in the recording booth. It’s red ON AIR lights flashing against the enveloping night, radiating outward from your AM dashboard radio.
“The boards are lighting up! Sophia in Stoneglass, Oregon. You’re on Dreamtime. What’s on your mind?”
Cliff is a late-night talk show host doing his swan-song broadcast after twenty-three years of little sleep and lots of pills. In those twenty-three years, Cliff has been a hateful braggart and a ruffian whom you just can’t help but love, as he tangles with the calls of madmen, psychics, couch-superspies and self-proclaimed cyborgs. But now Cliff is going away and the stars are aligning. This could very well be his last show.
“Thirty seconds, Cliff.”
I love dialogue-heavy stories about the radio. Maybe it’s because I did a stint as a radio show host way back in the bad old days or maybe it’s because I can’t think of anything more captivating to me than a commanding, slightly hectic man spitting out words like machine-gun fire out of a radio. Also, listening to weirdos tell their side of the story. Open Lines has all this and then more, harking back to the good old days of Ellison’s Flop Sweat and Twilight Zone black and white masterpieces.
If there is any notable fault to the story, it should be that Jeremy Maddux tends to go on small, but mood-breaking tangents to set up the relationships between the characters (a move that is superfluous, given that his brilliant dialogue more than makes up for it). It is, however, a small flaw in an otherwise great short story.
If you have a thing for open-domain restored 50’s radio dramas or if you just like thinking you’re reading this in you hectic radio-announcer voice while driving down an empty interstate, then Open Lines is just the thing for you.
- 9200 words
- Jeremy Maddux is a bizarro writer and podcaster, among other things. You can visit his author page here.
- There’s nothing like the eerie quiet you get when it’s past 2 AM inside a sound-proofed recording studio.
- Remember kids: DON’T follow black-clad men all the way out into the harbour.
- This story is available for purchase through Amazon.com.
Konstantine Paradias is a Greek science fiction and fantasy writer. He has a blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). He’s also hard at work writing a book about Mongols in Zastavas, tearing through Asia all the way to your back yard. He has been offered a chance to know the moment of his demise, which he described as ‘hillarious’.
For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at firstname.lastname@example.org