SBR 1.3: Inbox

Put away your laundry or the ghosts will steal your socks, I’m your temporary host Sam Enfield, and this is the Spirit Box Radio Advice and Community Segment.

[INTRO MUSIC]

I have some good news about Madame Marie. Well. I say good. It’s actually fairly neutral. And when I say it’s about Madame Marie, I mean that conjecturally. And when I say it’s news I mean that in a way it’s news and in a lot of ways it doesn’t actually say anything about Madame Marie at all.

Still. It’s something! And that’s more than we’ve had for a few weeks. I know I’m hedging around this. I find it a bit awkward to say. I’ve never really— well it’s not so much that I don’t get on with Kitty. I get on with her just fine. I mean, I can get along with anyone just fine, you know, if I put my mind to it. But Janet the tarot witch and Salim the weather guy were a bit easier to talk to and even Astrid the Janitor had more to say to me than Kitty. And I mean. It’s pretty clear from her message that she intended it to reach Madame Marie, which I suppose means that the loyal assistants weren’t involved in whatever scheme Madame Marie is running. Or at least Kitty wasn’t. And as the investigator, well, she’s the one I’d want most involved if I was trying to run some sort of experiment or something.

But what do I know, faithful listeners? I’m just a spiritually challenged PO Box boy, I’m barely able to run this show, let alone run some sort of psychic experiment! So it’s not really worth thinking about too much, I don’t think. At least not right now, anyway.

I’ve been practising my tarot! I had some excellent advice from someone named Alodie, who sent me a lovely long telegram explaining better techniques and what sort of things I can do to improve my readings! We’ve had a couple of requests for readings despite my somewhat disastrous reading last week. Steven from Newport wants me to ask the cards about whether or not it would be a good idea to propose to his partner.

So… okay, I’m pulling out…. The six of swords. So, sixes are all about balance and stability and a need to restore a sense of equilibrium, according to Alodie and the books I’ve been reading, and the swords are about decision making and stuff going on in the mind. Which I think means, the decision you make needs to be informed by your need for stability? I’m not really sure where that leaves you in terms of your proposal, Steven, but I suppose you need to be led by your head as much as your heart in this, and bear in mind that this is going to be a decision about your entire future, not just a wedding day. I think? That seems about right. Right?

Our next reading request is from Tammy in Edgeware. She wants to know whether it was wise to sell her… goose. Um. Okay, Tammy. I’ll consult the cards on that one for you I suppose. And I’ve drawn. Oh. Death! Well. That’s okay I suppose, because death isn’t really to do with death, I’ve been reliably told. It’s more about new beginnings. So I suppose it was a good call to sell the goose and both you and they get to have fresh start now. I think. Yeah. Sounds about right.

[ringing/fizzing]

Now, I suppose we should get to that email from Kitty the Investigator. It’s just that. Oh, I don’t know. You can probably tell I’m reluctant. She clearly meant it to go to Madame Marie, so Kitty doesn’t know Marie is gone. And I don’t know what to do. I could respond to the email, you know, just say, ‘oh sorry, she’s kind of disappeared’, but then. What if Kitty were to ask. What if she were to say ‘Sam, you lowly PO Box Boy, by what rights are you reading Madame Marie’s emails?’ and I have no idea what I’d say to her because. I mean. I feel it in my bones, you know, that Madame Marie would want the community and advice segment to keep running. She was always so keen to keep it going. It was important, she said, put a life into the spirit box skipping we play the rest of the time, you know. It’s not. I don’t know.

[ringing/fizzing intensifies]

Faithful listeners, I must be honest with you, because I think I may have understated the extent to which I really was not allowed down into the recording room before. But the door was just ajar, you see, that morning. And when I woke up I feel like I’d already made the decision to do it, somehow, even though I fully expected to sort the PO Box stuff and leave it in the trays by the door as I usually do, and see maybe Astrid or Salim or Janet on their way down to run the segment, or maybe Kitty on her way off to some grand adventure, but that isn’t what I found. I found the door. The open door. No trays left out for me to fill with sorted post. No sign lit up saying ‘on the air’. Just the door. Stood ajar. And the steps down, down into the recording studio. The smell like popcorn and stale air and— I don’t know.

//

Oh I don’t like this, not one bit. But I don’t know what else I can do. And I just can’t make sense of Kitty’s email. Like I said about the tarot readings, I’m sure Madame Marie will get to it upon her return, but I don’t know when that will be, although, surely, it must be soon, she’s never been gone this long before, not that I can remember. And it’s just that it seems so important. And if I can’t reach Madame Marie and Kitty doesn’t even know she’s missing then. Well. I don’t know. So I feel like this is all I can do, being so spiritually challenged and so outside the loop. I have to become a loyal assistant and put this out there to you, faithful listeners. Perhaps Madame Marie is listening from where ever she has gone to but I don’t know. I hope she is. But I can’t just leave this email unattended, I just can’t.

[DEEP BREATH]

I’m letting myself get wound up. I shouldn’t let myself get so wound up.

[DEEP BREATH] [ringing/fizzing reduces]

Okay. The email.

M,

It’s K.

I’ve reached the place. The old house. It’s as you suspected.

Nothing has changed except. Well. Everything has changed.

The low wall of the garden is there. The bushes by the path, except they are larger now. The front door is the same, but it’s painted red, now, rather than blue. The windows light in the evenings as though there are people that live inside. While I sat and watched I even caught glimpses of movement in the corner of my eye, though always in the windows I was not looking at, and never the ones where I was.

Standing by the gate, looking up at the house, you get a sense of invitation. Well. Not invitation, exactly, really, it’s warmth. Friendliness. Standing there I thought, oh, I shouldn’t knock now, they’ll be busy, doing something wholesome. And I listened to that instinct, somehow not realising the strangeness of it, the wrongness of a sense of knowing, of familiarity, with a family that I did not know.

It was not until I had left the gate and walked down the street, when I was stood on the corner about to cross the road, that it struck me as odd that I had walked away. I’d come so far just to see the house, just to go inside. To investigate. Your little Sam always calls me ‘Kitty the Investigator’, doesn’t he? So why had I walked away?

I turned back and walked back to the house. I stood at the gate and it washed over me again. A sense of quiet familiarity. Fondness. A certainty that now was not the time. I should come back later. Perhaps tomorrow. They were busy now.

I was almost back to the corner when I realised I had done it again. I had left. Abandoned my purpose. Whatever energy surrounds the house, it is powerful. The third time I approached I was holding it firm in my head that I was going to go into the house. I was going to walk across the garden and up to the front door and knock and if there was no answer, which I’m sure there won’t be because we have no reason to believe the house exists except for people’s accounts of it. So when I got no answer to my knock I was going to go inside.

Only I couldn’t. I got to the gate and I felt it all again. They were busy. I didn’t want to interrupt them. I’d come back tomorrow, maybe the day after, and before I knew what I was doing I was back on the corner.

I have to say, M, it’s a lot better than the defence mechanisms a lot of these things throw out. Foreboding’s got to work maybe forty, forty five per cent of the time but mostly I’d bet it just makes people more curious. It also makes them remember. I’m going back to my hotel now. I’m going to work on a strategy and… well. I’m going to go back tomorrow.

Kitty.

… And that’s it. That’s the end. I don’t know. It makes me feel. Wrong. Reading this. It’s probably just because it’s meant for Madame Marie and not for me, but at the same time, oh, I don’t know, it feels bigger. Worse than that. I don’t know. I can’t explain it. It’s almost like… Well. I don’t want to pry. I don’t know. But… oh, it doesn’t matter, never mind.

Oh god, my head. My hands are shaking. I haven’t felt like this since

[hissing/whispering]

Since…

[hissing gets louder]

Well. I don’t know.

[sound cuts out]

I guess I’ve never felt like this. And I’m just imagining it.

It’s out there now. Madame Marie, if you’re listening, then maybe hurry back and try to give Kitty some advice? Or if you can log into your email from wherever it is you’ve gone to, just drop her a line, just to let her know what she should be doing, you know.

//

Anyway so I suppose we should talk about the augury forecast for this week! I was cleaning the studio bathroom and I found it sitting on the pipes under the sink. I didn’t know what it was straight away; it was folded into a little origami crane and it was pretty caked in dust. When I pulled it out, though, I could see a bit of writing over the edge of one of the wings, so I unfolded it. The handwriting is loopy, real fancy looking, you know? I figure maybe it’s Salim’s handwriting as it is a bit more weather focused than the other augury forecasts but it has It looks like Salim’s handwriting so you know it’s probably going to be a bit more weather focused than the forecast normally is, but beggars can’t be choosers, and at any rate, it is marked as representing this week.

A brief shower three Thursdays ago indicates this week might be a good one for revisiting with an old hobby or past time. If you used to knit or cross stitch or corpse bother, now is a good time to pick it up again.

Storm clouds above the horizon as the flocks of starlings returned from their winters away suggest that as the nights draw in, you should be mindful of where you leave your freshly cleaned clothes. Clothes left out too long under these conditions may attract unwanted pests, particularly socks and warm cardigans, which wandering spirits are known to be fond of.

Due to the orientation of the birds in the birdbath the morning I write this, it is likely a good idea to avoid large purchases this month.

Wednesday next week will have several heavy, sudden showers. Take an umbrella if you intend to go out for a walk.

If your name is Louis, Louise, Lois, Lewis, Lousia, Laurel or Andrew, you will want to avoid business dealings towards the end of the week if they involve personal investment. It’s not worth your life, it’s really not. You have so much to live for. I swear to you it’s more important than that. New bikes won’t make them love you. The way you get them back is to spend more time listening. I swear to you it’s not the way, just do it. Please. Phone them. Don’t do this.

And that concludes the augury forecast!

Hopefully I’ll hear back from Salim soon enough so I can line up another augury forecast for you soon. It would just be nice to hear from him. Or Janet. Or Astrid. Or Madame Marie, ideally.

I’ve been looking for some kind of info about them, a phone number, email address, anything like that, but I don’t think Madame Marie formally employs anyone so there’s no payroll and no contracts or anything for me to reference. I could ask Kitty when I reply to her, I suppose. But I don’t even know if I should reply to her, to be honest. The email wasn’t really meant for me, you know?

Besides, she doesn’t know Madame Marie is missing. What would I even say to her? Not that she’s missing in a missing persons sort of way. Just. Gone. She’ll be back. I know she’ll be back. She has to be back. I’m sure of it. Three weeks is a long time but it’s not the longest time, you know. I mean I’d have liked a heads up by this point really, strictly speaking but perhaps that’s not going to…

[deep breath]

I’m sure she’s fine. She’s fine, right? She has to be fine. She’s Madame Marie. Renowned psychic extraordinaire! She knows what she’s doing. She always knows what to expect. She’s a psychic; it’s sort of part of the job description.

As much as I’m enjoying being your temporary host, faithful listeners, I do wonder at how much longer I’m going to have to keep doing this for. I mean. I can sort of pull tarot cards properly now but I’m hardly a skilled card reader and, well, I don’t have any connate ability. I never get a sense of what’s to come, I don’t ever feel supernatural presences. To be honest I struggle to know whether or not my crumpets have toasted enough most of the time. And as much reading as I’ve done, or, well, tried to do, I’m hardly an expert on the little spells and things Madame Marie and Janet use for good luck and such like, and I just —

[swooshy email sound]

Oh. Faithful listeners, another email from Kitty, she says, she says —

Oh. She says ‘Sam, stop reading my emails on the radio. Stop reading my emails at all. Just stop.’

Ah. That old chestnut. Well. Okay. I don’t know. But.

[swooshy email sound]

‘That sounded a lot worse than I meant it to. How are you even in the studio? M doesn’t let you down there. You can’t be down there.’

Ah, yes, well, I did mention, I did say, she’s a little bit, well, she’s missing and I wasn’t sure how to tell you that she’s gone, Kitty. But I’m sure she’ll be back. She has to be back, soon. And it’s not like I’m not allowed down here, exactly. It’s more like, well. Madame Marie said because the space is so narrow, it’s inconvenient to have more people in the studio than absolutely necessary, and I shouldn’t come down here because it’s bad for me because… It just is. I think she was being over cautious. I respect Madame Marie’s wishes. But. You know. She’s gone. And she loved this radio show more than anything and I know that you, faithful listeners, you meant the world to her, so I couldn’t just let things run cold. ]

Oh, another email ‘I mean it; stop reading my emails out loud’

Sorry, sorry! I don’t—

[phone buzzes]

Oh, now she’s calling me. I’m sorry faithful listeners. I have to go I—