Sarah Feary is a student of Winter Park, Florida’s Full Sail University, and majors in Creative Writing for Entertainment. Sarah aspires to become a published author of fiction after graduation, and is currently working on a collection of short stories.
KILLING THE RADIO STAR
It was just after three when the music started playing. Troy, having stumbled into bed only an hour ago, emerged from a particularly poisonous dream with a start. The song was Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” and it was fucking blasting. Ordinarily, Troy would have been only too happy to crack a beer and enjoy the listening experience, but he had to be at work in less than four hours. The thought of more alcohol also made his stomach roll. His mouth tasted like the floor of a birdcage, and he got up to fetch himself a glass of water and some diazepam.
He shuffled into his living room and switched on the light. The cockroach meeting on his coffee table hastily adjourned. He grubbed amid the liquor and prescription bottles, knocking over empties which rolled to the carpet. None of the prescription bottle labels bore his name. He bitched under his breath when he discovered that he had painkillers aplenty, but no sedatives. Desperate times called for desperate measures, so he crunched an antihistamine tablet. The bitter crumbs stuck to his teeth and tongue, but he chewed some more and took a few pulls of orange juice straight from the carton.
Back in his bedroom, Bill Withers had replaced Jimi Hendrix. Some prick with no rhythm was singing along and stumbling over the lyrics. Bill Withers gave way to Foghat. Once Dave Peverett had finished complimenting his slow ridin’ woman, there came the silly opening synth riff of “Light My Fire.” In the darkness, Troy sighed and rolled from bed again.
Like the prescription bottles of painkillers on his coffee table, the pump action leaning against his dresser technically didn’t belong to him. According to Horny Lou, Troy’s connection and sometimes partner in inchoate crime, it was still registered to a Duane P. Kilpatrick. Troy had dubbed the shotgun Courtney Love because it was always loaded. In case of broken glass, a common occurrence in his walk-up, he stopped to slip into his battered sneakers before letting himself out into the hall. Holding Courtney Love out of sight, he stepped up to his neighbor’s door and pounded with his fist. Inside, he could hear the lyric-bungling prick really belting it.
“Try to set the night on…FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRE!”
Troy took a big step back, then gave the door a smooth, practiced front kick. There was a crunch that sounded to Troy like the world’s biggest bite of celery, and the door exploded inward on its hinges. He stepped through, one arm out to shield himself. In his experience, doors tended to bounce off the wall and come flying back at him, but this time the interior knob embedded itself in the ancient drywall. He strode through the dark kitchenette and living room toward the sickly lamplight spilling through the open bedroom door.
The room was covered in papers, magazines and books, and reeked of unwashed armpits. A laptop sat open on the bed. On the screen was a porno. The offending sound system turned out to be a CD deck and a single Bose speaker. The Jim Morrison wannabe’s attention was on composing a text message. He had his face bent to the screen of his smart phone, and several chins pooched from his jawline. He had his hair in a man bun that might have been fetching if he’d had more hair. His moobs rested on his beach ball gut. Troy’s lip curled.
“Light My Fire” began to fade, and in the brief silence before another song could start, Troy gave Courtney Love a brisk pump and took aim. Startled by the noise, his neighbor looked up. Once his eyes landed on Courtney Love, they went wide, almost popping from their sockets. He shrieked and dove for the floor. Everything on his body jiggled as he landed, and a tremor ran through the floorboards.
“Please don’t kill me!” said the trembling mound of flesh.
At the word “kill,” a little voice in Troy’s head piped up about that one band, The Buggles. What was their one huge song called? Troy couldn’t get the title straight, but he knew it had to do with videos and radios.
“You aaaaare the radio staaaar,” Troy sang in a startlingly clear, pleasant tenor before shooting the Bose to spinning bits. Within the tiny room, the noise was a thunderclap, but silence descended on its heels like a fuzzy blanket. The CD deck went right on spinning the disc in the tray, indifferent to its speaker partner’s untimely demise. Troy walked out, leaving his neighbor blubbering.
In the blessed peace and quiet of his own bed, the antihistamine tablet had started to kick. After deciding he would treat himself to a proper music app and a decent pair of earbuds for his phone, Troy fell into a deep sleep.