Old Time Radio

Little boy leans up against a Radio that stands taller than he does. Radio embraces him. An enormous 1940s-era Philco. Radio, its glowing tubes radiate yellowish light and considerable heat deep inside its cavern. Radio emits an unsavory odor that suggests small, creeping things became trapped inside, now decaying and undiscovered.

Radio’s array of well-worn knobs and dials covers the surface of its fake mahogany cabinet. The dial’s labels are too smudged to read. Little boy carefully turns the central dial to a familiar spot. He makes sure to keep the volume down so nobody else will hear it. A few bursts of loud static startle him, but happily they don’t awaken anyone. It’s long past little boy’s bedtime. Finally, with everything to his satisfaction, he snuggles up against Radio’s dark cavern. The terrifying alien music begins.

We… bring… you… SUSPENSE!

Little boy feels compelled because Radio commands, “You must not touch that dial.” Nobody knows what might happen if they touch the dial. The voice tells of a haunted armchair, possessed by an angry spirit. The spirit strangles people who sit in the chair–not all the people, only those who hurt it while it was still alive. Little boy promises that he will never sit in an armchair again.

Little boy sleeps, moans in his sleep, begins to dream. He doesn’t know that he moves through a dream. His entire world is no more than a chessboard the size of a house. It rocks gently from side to side against a background of the moon and a few dim stars.

Only three others live in little boy’s world. Three monsters, gray, silent, ominous monsters. Monsters motionless in the far corner of the chessboard. Their hideous and lumpy bodies are the texture of dark wet modeling clay.

Daddy Monster, the biggest and most menacing of the three, smokes a crooked cigar and spits. He looks like an elongated gorilla modeled from the glistening clay.

Mommy Monster is in a drugged stupor. She leers at him through her glowing red eyes and laughs shrilly.

Nameless Monster is small, dominated by the other two. Its forked tongue darts out as it hisses at him.

The monsters turn toward the little boy. They stagger blindly but reach him in a few seconds. Daddy monster shoves him roughly. Suddenly, all three begin to wrap their clay bodies around him until they blend into a shapeless suffocating mass. It rolls out of control toward the edge of the board and the dim stars of the abyss beyond.

He screams.

Three people in the little apartment wake up. Little boy will be punished.