Another Place: View from a BridgebyStorm62©
Immediately I could tell she was thinking of jumping, you don't stand on the outside of the bridge rail to look at the view. I thought it would be a waste if she did, she looked very pretty: A natural redhead with nice long legs.
"You're not thinking of letting go are you?" I asked. "It'll make a terrible mess for someone to clear up."
"What's it to you?" Her head jerked around, revealing flashing green eyes.
"I'm one of those who has to clean it up." I shrugged.
"Oh! I'm soooo sorry for the inconvenience." She snapped back.
"Plus it would be a terrible shame for such a pretty girl to throw away her life." I smiled to show her I meant it.
"Yeah? Well my boyfriend, my ex-boyfriend, wouldn't agree with you."
"Just because he's an idiot doesn't mean the rest of us should be denied your beauty."
She smiled weakly for the first time.
"Do you make a habit of this?"
"Charming girls stood on the edge of a bridge."
"Actually, you're my first." I grinned.
"Did you mean that?"
"That you're the first? Yes."
"No, that I'm pretty."
"It's not just some ploy?"
"Well, it is a ploy, but that doesn't make it any less true." I gently laid my hand on hers. "Come back this side of the rail and tell me your name."
She hesitated for a moment and looked me in the eyes.
"All right. Seeing as you asked nicely." She said quietly. As she turned her foot slipped. I quickly grabbed her flailing arm, steadying her. I pulled her towards me and wrapped my arms around her. I could see the sudden fear in her eyes, her green eyes. She realised that she didn't want to die like this.
"Hi! I'm Dave. And you are?" I said, hoping to calm her down. It worked.
"Sue. Susan." She said, the terror receding from her face.
"Well Susan, let me help you back onto the safe side of the railing and then you can tell me your problems." She nodded her assent and with a bit of help, clambered back over the barrier.
Susan leant back against the rail and sank down onto her haunches. She couldn't look me in the eye.
"I'm so sorry and so ashamed." She sobbed.
"What on earth is so bad that it could make you think that jumping off a bridge was the answer?" I asked as tenderly as I could.
"It just seemed that no-one cared and that the world would be better off without me." She was crying now, partly from shock, partly from shame.
"But that's just silly." I crouched in front of her and took her hand. "You are enough to brighten anyone's day."
"You're very kind." She giggled through her tears. "And very smooth."
"I try to be." I lifted her hand and kissed the back of it. "So lets not have any more talk about jumping shall we?"
"No." She shook her head. "I promise."
Then things got a little weird.
The guide in the blue uniform just appeared out of nowhere beside us, a clipboard in his hand.
"Interesting." He said.
"What the..?" I said in surprise. "Who the hell are you? And where did you come from?"
Susan just stared in shock, as if she recognised him.
"You!" She said. "I thought you were a dream."
"In a way, I was."
"But who are you?" I asked again.
"I was supposed to be Miss Susan's guide onto her next plane of existence, but you appear to have forestalled that. How?"
"What do you mean 'How'. All I did was talk her out of jumping."
"Just by talking eh? Interesting" He looked at something on the clipboard. "Miss Susan, are you still interested in my proposal?"
Sue nodded slowly.
"There's got to be something better than this life." She said sadly. "I've nothing here to look forward too, so, yes, I am still interested in your proposition."
"Susan! What are you saying? You'd prefer to be dead?"
"Not really, but there has to be something more fulfilling than this miserable life I'm leading." She looked away shamefacedly.
"She doesn't have to be dead to accept this offer." The uniformed guy said. "In fact, if you're worried, you can come as well. With your power you could be useful to us."
"What power? I'm a bin man for heavens sake!"
"But you seem to be a persuasive talker, which is something we need at the moment. Are you interested?"
I looked from one to the other of them. Susan seemed to be depressed about the way her life was going and she was too pretty to just let go. The man with the clipboard didn't seem to pose any threat, he was just waiting, humming, looking at me in an expectant way, as if he knew how I was thinking.
"All right." I sighed. "What do I have to do?"
"If you'll both just like to sign here." He proffered the clipboard. "It's a one year contact."
"Won't people miss us?" I asked.
"No. You'll still be here. That is, when you have fulfilled your contracts, you'll be returned to this place and time."
"And where are we going?"
"A sort of halfway house where people wait while it's decided whether they reincarnate or carry on to a higher plane of existence. We employ people such as yourselves to help them in their decision; some are waiting themselves, others we bring in on these short term contracts." He gave Sue a pen. She signed the contract. He turned to me, offering me the clipboard.
"Against my better judgement." I sighed and took the pen. "Anyway I want to keep an eye on Susan."
"And you've only just met her." The guy smiled. "Ready? Then hold hands." There was a sound like a wave breaking on a beach and the bridge vanished from view.
We appeared in an apartment room with some nice furnishings. I looked around at it, wondering if I was to stay here or Susan was. Sue was doing the same thing. Finally I spoke.
"Is this to be mine or hers?"
"Actually, you'll have to share." The guide looked embarrassed. "We were only expecting Susan."
"Then it's hers: find me a cubby-hole or something. We can't share; I've only just met her!"
Sue put her hand on my shoulder.
"Dave, I'm sure it'll be fine." She said smiling. "What can happen? Look on it as an adventure."
"An adventure? What sort of adventure?"
"The sort where you discover what it's like living with someone." Sue smiled.
"All right, I'll try." I said, somewhat mollified. "What is this job then?" I asked, turning to our guide.
"Well, we're setting up a radio station. We have three DJ's and two engineer's, Susan is an engineer too."
"I only do hospital radio you know." She said, slightly worried that he may think she was some big-shot.
"Yes, I know. But this will be similar to that."
"So where do I fit in? Unless you need some rubbish taken away that is."
"No, we have people for that. I was thinking with your persuasive talking ability you could become a fourth DJ."
"Won't that leave you an engineer short again?"
"I think we can work around it. I suggest you go and meet the others at the station over the road and talk it over with them. You go on air tomorrow."
With that he turned and left. I looked at Sue, a bemused look upon my face matching the one she was wearing.
"Well, I suppose we'd better go and find the others and see what they say." I said.
Sue nodded in agreement, but an anxious look came back onto her face. "Why are you worried? At least you've an idea about what to expect, I haven't got a clue!"
"I just don't want to let anybody down again, and I suspect that you'll be just fine."
"And what makes you say that? I've never even been inside a radio studio, I could be terrible, or freeze up, or anything."
Now she laughed.
"You haven't stopped talking since I met you! You'll be perfect."
I laughed too.
"All right, you've convinced me. Let's go and see the others." I held out my hand and she took it. I led her out of the door to meet our new workmates.
They were a friendly bunch, looking forward to starting a new venture. The three DJ's were willing to help me with a few hints and tips, the main one being not to think of talking to a lot of people, just to imagine one person and talk to them. The engineers did the same for Sue as she confessed her relative inexperience. There was also a programme controller and a secretary. Kelly the controller was amiable to my proposal that I take the late night shift so that I could see how the others worked. She wasn't so sure about the suggestion that Sue be my engineer until I explained I had an idea I'd like to try out. The other two engineers, Rick and Adrian, agreed to do six-hour shifts to cover the first three four-hour shows, leaving Sue with just my four-hour stint which fitted in perfectly with my plan. Kelly said she'd be around for my show too, 'just to keep an eye' on us. They were all a little curious about my scheme, but I didn't want to say too much, I wanted it to be a surprise, especially for Sue.
We looked around the studios and the other station offices. I was poking around in one of the cupboards when I found a camp bed that could be used by the station staff if an emergency meant they had to stay overnight at the studio. I asked if I could borrow it. Kelly said it shouldn't be a problem so I picked it up. After spending a while familiarising ourselves with the studio Sue and I returned to our apartment to sort out the sleeping arrangements and a few other things.
"Why the bed?" Sue asked as I put it up in the corner of the main room of the apartment.
"There's only the one otherwise." I said.
"We could share it you know."
"I couldn't sleep in the same bed as you Susan; I don't know that I could control myself."
"What makes you say that?"
"You're too pretty for one thing."
She blushed slightly.
"I'd be willing to take the chance." She replied, almost hopefully.
"Well I wouldn't. You don't know me well enough."
"It would be a chance to learn?"
"No. My mind is made up. I'll sleep out here." I stood up after putting the bed together. "The only other thing is that I suggest we both make sure we lock the bathroom door when we're using it. No chance of bursting in on one another."
"You seem to have thought of everything." She said disappointedly.
"Just trying to keep things honest." I smiled. "To give you time to find out about all my nasty habits."
"You're determined to take all the fun out of this aren't you?"
"At least for a while, until we get to know each other better. We only just met a few hours ago remember?"
"Am I that repulsive to you?" She looked like she was going to cry.
"Sue, you are practically everything I want in a girl. A pretty, green-eyed redhead with long legs and a sense of humour too, but I have to build up to things. And you may find that I'm not the Good Samaritan you think I am. You might actually dislike me you know."
"Somehow I doubt that. All right, we'll do it your way." She grinned. "At least for now."
We decided to look around the apartment and see what was there. Susan went into the bedroom and I wandered into the kitchen. It was well equipped, better than mine anyway, and the fridge was stocked with food and drink. I opened a can of coke and took a slug. Sue called me eagerly from the bedroom.
"Hey! Come and look at this."
I strolled in with my coke to see what had got her excited. She was looking at the inside of the wardrobe. The bed was covered with a range of clothing pulled out of a chest of drawers. I stood beside her.
"What's got you so full of beans?" I asked.
"Look at all these beautiful clothes." She pulled out a dress on a hanger and held it to her, to see what it looked like on.
"Very nice. At least you've got a change of clothes then."
"Well they were expecting me. I'm sure you can get something else to wear too."
"I won't need much. A couple of shirts, some jeans, maybe some shorts, a few pairs of underpants and I'll be sorted."
"You're easily pleased then." She smiled. "You can probably get all sorts of wonderful clothes and all you want is a pair of shorts and some underwear."
"Yep! That'll suit me fine." I paused. "Assuming I can actually get a change of clothes, that is." There was a ring of the doorbell. I strolled out to see who it was, wondering who actually knew we were here. It was a delivery guy with a suitcase. He handed it over and asked me to sign for it. I did, and then took it inside, speculating about what might be inside.
"Open it." Sue said enthusiastically. I clicked the catches and flipped open the lid. Inside were some clothes obviously meant for me. T-shirts, jeans, underwear, a pair of shorts, and some trainers. Sue just laughed. "You should have asked for a Tux as well!"
"That would have been silly. Anyway, this stuff is more me. I wonder how they knew."
"I should think they know all about us. Don't worry; you've got your change of clothes now."
"Now I just need somewhere to put them"
"There's probably a cupboard somewhere you can use."
I must have sounded upset because Sue giggled.
"I'm kidding idiot. I'll clear out a couple of the drawers in the bedroom."
"I'm not sure that's a good idea, if you think about it."
"Oh, you and your puritanical ideas." She frowned a little, and the smiled again. "All right, we'll keep everything separate." She gave a wicked grin. "For now!"
I went into the station a couple of hours after Will had started his 'Breakfast Bar' show at seven to watch him at work. He was trailing Sara's following show as 'The Main Event', an interesting name I thought. Her show was followed by 'Nicky's Rush Hour'. I couldn't see that lasting as there seemed to be no such thing here. Kelly suddenly realised that they needed a name for my show, so they could trail it. Sue had arrived by now, so after a quick discussion we came up with 'Crazy Nights'.
"No name check?" Kelly asked after I told her as Sue was watching Adrian at work.
Kelly looked at me sideways.
"What are you up too?"
"If I tell you, will you keep it quiet until we go on at seven?"
"Of course." She sighed.
"Sue is going to be my co-presenter."
"She hasn't said anything to me." Kelly was puzzled.
"She doesn't know yet." I grinned.
At ten to seven I was sat in the studio waiting for Nicky to hand over to me on the hour, but Sue had only just come in from the other studio. I still had to persuade her to engineer the show from where I was sat AND wear a mike and participate in a little banter. To my surprise she just came straight in and sat opposite me, tugging on the headphones and mike without a word. I looked up and saw Kelly outside; she smiled and waved her fingers.
"Ready?" Sue asked.
Somewhat shocked, I nodded.
"As I'll ever be. Why are you sat there?"
"That's what you wanted isn't it?" She gave me a huge grin. Kelly waved again and I knew I'd been had. Sue began to count down with her fingers and then cued me in as Nicky handed over.
"Good evening, all you mad creatures. Welcome to 'Crazy Nights' with me, Dave..."
"...And me, Sue."
"First up is the greatest song ever, ever, ever. No argument will be accepted. Here is Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir'."
And that was how we started our show. The second song I, or we, played was 'Freebird'. As it ended I back announced it and then carried on.
"I'd like to play a few of your requests, so if any of you want to get in touch, we'll see what we can do."
Nicky broke in from the other studio where he was tidying up.
"I've got a request."
"I'm not swapping knob-twiddlers mate!"
"No, there's a song I'd like you to play."
"Well, that'll be a start. Go on then."
"Can you play Alice Cooper's 'Poison'?"
Sue nodded that she could find it.
"It seems we can Nicky, mainly because you already primed the computer. 'Poison', that's the song that all the pole-dancers use isn't it? Hey Sue, how about it?"
She reddened with embarrassment.
"No pole dummy." She snapped back.
"I think that was a 'NO' listeners. I may be back after 'Poison' by Alice Cooper. If I'm not, you'll know Sue has taken action." I cued in the song. I could see that Sue wasn't overly happy. "Don't take it seriously Sue, it's just mindless banter to get some atmosphere."
"Just be careful Dave." She frowned at me. "Remember where I was standing when you met me."
"I just wanted to sound like I was teasing you."
"You were teasing me." She smiled at my discomfort. "How far are you thinking of going?"
"Only mild innuendo and risqué flirting I promise." I crossed my heart.
Sue grinned at my action.
"See that it is, or I'm going back to the other side of the glass. How do you want me to react? Straight-laced or flirty back?"
"What do you feel would be better?"
"Flirty I think." She grinned an evil grin.
"It is the night show I suppose." I mused. "Flirty back it is then."
"And you don't realise what you've just unleashed sunshine."
"Ooo! That sounds promising." I grinned back at the huge smile Sue was now wearing. "Anyway, I believe it's your turn to pick a song."
"Anything I want?"
"Well, no rap, disco or country. But otherwise..." She smiled to herself and began to search the database. 'Poison' finished. "What a great song. Pity I missed out on the dancing, but Sue wouldn't try without a pole." I smirked at her wickedly. "What's next then, knob-twiddler of mine?"
"I've decided that we need to get everyone involved, so here's Queen's 'We Will Rock You'. Everybody join in, you know you want to. You too, button-pusher."
I smiled. This was going to work! As long as the management and the listeners thought so too. I glanced outside of the studio where Kelly was still watching. She seemed to sense my question and put her thumbs up.
Our first four-hour show was almost over.
"Just time for one more." I said. Sue nodded that I was right. "Okay then. This one is for my knob-twiddler and partner-in-crime Susan. Bad Company's 'Feel Like Making Love'." I smirked as the tune began. Sue just put on her 'serene' face for the duration.
As the song finished she spoke.
"Sorry, I've got a headache. Goodnight everybody." And she switched everything off. We both just collapsed with laughter.
Kelly came in beaming.
"You two have a great rapport. It comes through the speakers and gives the show something different."
"So you think it'll work?" I asked.
"I think so. We'll see what reaction you asking for requests gets shall we?"
"That was okay wasn't it?"
"Shouldn't be a problem." Kelly seemed amused by my late concern. "Though I think I might need to employ someone to deal with it."
"Sorry." I said, shamefaced.
"Don't be; it's the sort of thing we wanted." She smiled at me. "Although you might have asked first."
"Sorry again. It was a spur of the moment thing."
"Are you okay with everything Sue?" Kelly asked. "The banter wasn't a bit risqué for you?"
"No, it was fine. With a bit of practice I'll be able to respond in a similar way to Dave."
"I dunno Sue, that last put down was pretty good anyway." I grinned. "If you get too good, I may have to rethink my strategy." She just laughed.
Kelly was right. Sue and I were popular with the listeners. This led to some changes in the schedule after the first week on air. They brought in an extra engineer enabling Will to do an extra hour starting earlier. There was an hour of requests added in, initially put together by Kelly and then by some other people she wanted to try out. Her 'reserves' she called them. This slotted in between Sara and Nicky, who now called his show 'Twilight Time'. Sue and I got an extra hour as well. The schedule now ran: Will from six until eleven then Sara from eleven till three. Then the requests until four, when Nicky took over until eight. Finally Sue and I were on until one in the morning. The remaining five hours were filled with random songs from the computer. We were a twenty four hour station now!
It was also decided that the engineers and DJ's would get one day in every thirty off, to stop them getting jaded. It gave Kelly another chance to try out her 'reserves' as well. About ten weeks into this new regime I came in to find a new face presenting 'Twilight Time'. I was surprised because it was Sue's night off not Nicky's. Kelly was replacing Sue for the night as she felt that I needed a female presenter who wasn't going to be offended by the way I bounced stuff off her.