SBR 1.5: Long Time, No See

A shiver just took a gentle stroll down my spine, faithful listeners. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio.

[Intro music]

Hello, faithful listeners. Still me, your temporary host, Sam Enfield. I’ve been spending some time this week looking at the phone which mysteriously appeared in the studio during last week’s Advice and Community Segment and I’m… concerned and thrilled to announce that it does appear to be a simple phone. When Anna called last week, her side of the call was broadcast just as clearly as mine, though I can’t seem to find any connection between the phone and the recording set up. It is wired into the wall, however. It’s connected to something, at least.

As I mentioned last week it’s an old time-y looking thing but on investigation, it’s sat not just on a small, ornately carved wooden table, but also an old-fashioned voicemail message recorder. There’s a small flashing light on it telling me there are two hundred and thirty seven missed calls.

Now I’m thinking about it, Madame Marie did used to take calls on the show though to my memory it had been quite some time since she took any before she disappeared. There’s a phone number on the website and when I called it from my mobile, it rang the phone down here. It all makes perfect sense. Doesn’t it? Except that it wasn’t here before last week. Perhaps it’s shy.

Aside from my phone-related investigations, faithful listeners, I’ve actually had something of a trying week, so I thought that maybe to take a bit of the pressure off, we could listen to some of the voicemails together! How does that sound?

Oh. Right. Well I’m assuming you’re all jumping for joy and shouting ‘yes, Sam, what a wonderful idea!’

I’ve dragged the phone over to the desk so, let’s see what we have.

[buttons clicking]

MESSAGE NOTICE PLAYS THEN WEIRD SOUNDS

How peculiar. Perhaps they called us by mistake. I’ll play the next one.

NEXT MESSAGE IS THE SAME

Ah. Um. Yes. Great. Amazing. I’ll try the next one, then!

NEXT MESSAGE IS THE SAME

Nope! No thank you and

NEXT MESSAGE IS THE SAME

Well. Well they can’t all be like that. Can they? I mean. I suppose I’ll try another one…

NEXT MESSAGE IS THE SAME

RECORDER: You know, I can filter these messages if you like. You just need to press the filter button.

SAM: Oh. Great. Thank you.

RECORDER: No problem.

SAM: Okay… so.

RECORDER: FILTER MESSAGE

SAM: Whoever that was must have been really clumsy with their phone to leave all of those messages accidentally.

RECORDER: WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY ONE OF THE OTHER MESSAGES?

SAM: Oh, yeah! Sure. That would be grand. Yeah. Thank you.

RECORDER: It’s no problem, really.

MESSAGE FROM REGULAR-CALLER-BETH

Hi, Madame Marie! It’s me again; Beth! I hope you actually use this one. I’ve been hoping to get a bit of advice. Well. Actually. It’s more of an elaboration on the advice you already gave me, you know, about manifesting attention? See, thing is. I did as you said. And it worked! Only, not like I’d hoped? I was hoping people would maybe smile at me more or look at me a little different, maybe, I don’t know, waitresses would be a bit nicer at cafes? And people are paying more attention to me but it’s less ‘oh hi!’ and more like ‘oh dear’, you know? Anyway long short of it is, my right eyebrow is yellow. Is there a way to make it, you know, not yellow? Or even just less yellow. Thanks!

SAM

Ah, yes, Regular-Caller-Beth! Now I think about it, you did call very regularly. It makes perfect sense for there to be a phone in the studio to do stuff like that, doesn’t it? Yes. Perfectly normal. But I didn’t see it. I suppose I’m just spectacularly unobservant. Like when I didn’t notice my bedroom had two windows. All my life, I thought it only had one, and there it was the other morning, clear as day, a whole other window!

Oh I’m being so selfish, Regular-Caller-Beth. Your poor yellow eyebrow! I’m afraid I don’t remember the actual details of that particular spell. Was it an attraction spell? I don’t know. I’m not very knowledgable about the particulars, not really. From where I’m standing, though, you’ve got, mm, three options. The first is to, ah, repeat everything you did in the spell, but in reverse order. The second option is to fill a bath with one third milk or milk alternative, one third ice and one third cold water, add a sprinkle of nutmeg, a sprig of lavender and three drops of the blood of an innocent, and then take a bath in it whilst saying your own name three times backwards.

Oh, and if you have moral hang ups about obtaining the blood of an innocent there’s this really good vegan alternative; put four teabags, twelve pennies, red food dye and an effigy of the baby Jesus, Baldur, or Astrea into your favourite mug, add just enough water to cover everything, and leave it over night! Three drops of that should work just fine.

The third option is to dye your yellow eyebrow back to its original colour. I think they sell packs in Boots.

I hope that helps you, regular caller beth!

Let’s move on to our next message, shall we, recording machine?

RECORDER MESSAGE

DONNY PITT: Marie. Did you really think that would work? It’s only a matter of time. Tick tock.

SAM: Oh… kay. I’m not really sure what to say about that one so, I’d say, let’s move on swiftly, shall we?!

RECORDER MESSAGE: RHYTIDIA DELPHUS: Marie, you’re ignoring me, but I listen to the song of the swamp and it listens back to me. And I have news from the peaty gurgles. [hums opening notes of tragedy by steps] it will come to you in paper clothes, the message from the beast. It will come among brothers the way they always come, handed over by a man in red, from a red satchel. It will come when you least wish it. It will come swiftly, less than a day since it was sent. It will be marked with his name. When it comes it will be too late and all you call home will be cast into darkness. Heed this warning. Heed it well, Marie! Or you shall suffer the consequences.

SAM

[gasp] her house really WAS plunged into darkness! I had to phone the electricity company; apparently Madame Marie’s direct debit has been cancelled or something. I had to set one up and pay a nasty sum to get everything working again, what a nightmare! It was sort of strange, actually. I went digging in Madame Marie’s drawers and found a large collection of overdue notices for the electricity bill bundled up with a load of bank statements. But the statements weren’t for Madame Marie’s account; they were for mine! It’s really quite bizarre. It looks like she’s been siphoning all of her money into my account for months. It’s really strange, I have no idea why she’d do that. I don’t have any rent or bills to pay so my only outgoings are for food, so I don’t ever bother checking my account as the amount I make sorting the PO Boxes for Madame Marie is plenty to cover it. It’s all very… odd. You know?

I think I recognise this caller’s voice. I think it’s… is it Rhytidia Delphus, the witch from Dorset? If it was you Rhytidia, thanks for sending the message, and I’m so sorry it’s taken until now for me to hear it. I just… Well I didn’t notice the recording machine. Or the phone. It’s quite. Yes it’s odd isn’t it? Perhaps I need glasses or something! Anyway. If it’s alright with you, I’ll be taking a bit more of an active interest in the recording machine— provided of course Madame Marie doesn’t come back before next week’s episode. What do you think, recording machine?

RECORDING MACHINE: It’s no problem at all, temporary host Sam Enfield.

SAM: Oh. Great. Uh. Yeah. Wonderful, thanks.

RECORDING MACHINE: It’s my job, no need to thank me.

SAM: Ah. Right then. Um. I think there was one other message, wasn’t there? Can I listen to that one?

RECORDING MACHINE: No problem.

RECORDING MESSAGE: KITTY THE INVESTIGATOR:

Sam, it’s Kitty. What in seventh hell is going on? Anna has called me three times in the last week. I haven’t had my phone on, I’ve been looking into the old house and it’s been. Well. I don’t know how much I should tell you to be honest. Madame Marie didn’t want you involved, but you are involved now whether you like it or not, I suppose, aren’t you?

[sigh]

Either way I suppose I’ll tell you when I see you or Madame Marie will be back and I won’t. Doesn’t really matter. Can you please call Anna off? She’s doing my head in. I tried to reach you on your phone but it want straight to voicemail and, here I am, second voicemail of the day. Not that you’ve been taking any of these calls anyway. Delete this when you’ve listened to it. Oh, and make sure you’re polite with the recording machine; it can be a right arse otherwise, let me tell you. And for the love of Bathsheba don’t play this on the air.

EOR

Ah. Sorry Kitty. I uh. Oh well, never mind. It’s done now. I have tried to talk Anna round but I’m afraid she’s not having any of it. She’s never really been a great believer in intuitions and that’s all I have to go on, here. She tried to barge right into the studio but I managed to convince her to just sit down and have a cup of tea in the end, but even that she wasn’t happy about. Not even when I offered her a Jammy Dodger. She’s absolutely convinced this is a bad idea, me hosting the show until Madame Marie is back. It’s particularly annoying because Anna is so hoity toity about not believing in any of Madame Marie’s work. She’ll insist there is no such thing as ghosts one minute and the next start banging on about how it’s not safe for me to be down here.

I don’t know what she means. It’s cramped, I suppose. And there’s a lot of electrical equipment. And I don’t really know what I’m doing. But I’m not a child. I’m twenty-two! She can’t keep thinking of me as the baby forever. You and Anna are only eight years older than I am, anyway, not eighty, so I won’t sit here and be talked to like an infant. I don’t need telling what’s good for me, I’ll do as I like. And I like this. I like being a part of the show. I love talking to all of you faithful listeners. It’s made such a difference. I used to feel scared to go outside and now– well I’m still scared to go outside, but only for ordinary reasons, and not. I don’t know. I don’t know why I was so afraid before, I just know that I’m less afraid now.

For the first time in, well, forever, I feel like I have a purpose. I loved doing the PO Boxes but I was always hungry for something more, I think, even if I didn’t realise or acknowledge it or even know it at all! I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, when Madame Marie gets back she’ll be convinced by all of my hard work in her absence to let me carry on appearing on the show. Obviously it won’t be as regular and. Well. If she’s back maybe she’ll bring Janet and Salim and Astrid and. I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe Janet can teach me tarot, live on air! Maybe I can help Salim with the augury forecasts. Maybe. Oh. Maybe. I don’t know.

I’m getting all maudlin. I wonder, do we have any more messages, or was that all of them?

RECORDING MACHINE: NO NEW MESSAGES

Ah, thank you anyway, answering machine.

RECORDING MACHINE: Honestly, Sam, it’s been a pleasure as always. Any time you want to listen to messages, I’ll play them for you. It’s really all I can do.

SAM: Right. Of course. Thank you. Can I ask… I hope this isn’t rude but. Are you a possessed recording machine?

RECORDING MACHINE: Possessed is a bit of an overstatement. I think that only really applies to living beings.

SAM: Oh, I see. Sorry. I’m very much a novice, I hope I haven’t offended you.

RECORDING: You know, nobody ever asks how I’m doing. It’s always ‘do I have any messages’, never ‘how are you, recording machine?’. It’s honestly very rude. It’s so nice to have someone who appreciates me. Madame Marie never gave me the time of day.

SAM: I’m so sorry. How are you, recording machine.

RECORDING MACHINE: Pretty terrible to be honest. I’m a recording machine, stuck in a basement. And there are some crumbs stuck in the speaker that nobody can get out.

SAM: Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do? Maybe shake you upside down a bit and see if I can dislodge them?

RECORDING MACHINE: I appreciate the thought but it really won’t help. Thanks anyway, though.

SAM: No problem. Um. You’re welcome.

RECORDING MACHINE: Are you sure you don’t want to listen to any of the recordings again?

SAM: Yes. Thanks though.

RECORDING MACHINE: Sigh. Worth a try. I wonder how much more dust i can gather before anyone tries to call again.

SAM: How about I check in with you every couple of days or something?

RECORDING MACHINE: I would like that very much, temporary host Sam Enfield.

SAM: Excellent. Well, I’m sure that was enlightening for everyone. It certainly was for me! We’ll be taking your calls from the number listed on our website, which is of course [redacted by fuzing and hissing sounds], and you can still, as always, contact us via our forums. Make sure to check in with fellow faithful listeners before you try to commune with dead relatives or malicious entities, especially during the busy holiday season! As Madame Marie always says, nobody wants a demon in their stocking. This has been the Spirit Box Radio Advice and Community Segment, and I have been your temporary host Sam Enfield. Thank you very much for listening, and I bid you a fitless slumber.

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