“That’s 1-800 Let’s-end-this-now, folks,” intoned Indigo.
The night crew at WLHV Public Radio were getting a little punchy. It was the ninth day of the fund drive, and they were running short of enticements to bring in donations. Not that much could induce pledges after 8:00 PM, but the skeleton crew of volunteers were committed through 9:00—Daniel Stein, a veteran of twenty years of fund drives, whose high forehead and white beard made him look like the icon of his Marxist politics; Karen Murakowski, a schoolteacher taking a year off to bond with her infant daughter, who nevertheless welcomed a few hours alone in the company of other adults; Phil (no last name given), currently in residence at the Sixth Street Shelter, who one might suspect came for the donated food and the free coffee, but who was surprisingly personable over the phone and wrote donors’ names and messages in a legible hand—a treasured quality; Adam Jackson, in the Aperture Science T-shirt, whose grad work involved tracking the spread of the ash borer beetle; and Sophia Williams, from the School of Pharmacy, who’d volunteered for the first time last fund drive and who this time had brought along her roommate, Glendaliz Rivera. Overseeing this lot, and providing the on-air patter, were Indigo Marshall, who hosted the weekend roots music program, Gary Castiglione, control room operator extraordinaire, and Asmita Rao, one of the morning hosts.
To spur more involvement from whatever diehard station faithful were listening despite the absence of regular programming, Indigo and Gary had hit upon the idea of inventing limericks to celebrate popular programs and inviting listeners to send in their own—with a pledge—to be read on air.
Sometimes touching and sometimes ironic
This American Life is iconic
Ira Glass’s delivery
Leaves his audience quivery
The listening urge becomes chronic
That was their latest effort. So far, the comments accompanying the few pledges that had come in hadn’t risen to the challenge, however. They’d been of the ordinary sort—words of encouragement, support for particular programs, and the occasional political view or plug for a local business, including one mysterious one for the Eastwood Home for Muddled Children.
“ ‘Muddled Children’? It must be a joke,” Asmita had said.
“Maybe it was actually ‘Muggle Children,’” Gary had suggested. “Maybe they’re Harry Potter fans.”
But Daniel, who had taken the pledge, insisted the caller had said “muddled.”
“We still have three dinners for two at Chez Antoine available, for pledges of $100 or more,” Indigo was saying.
“Though donations of any amount are welcome,” put in Asmita. “Ten, twenty, fifty dollars—”
“Two hundred fifty dollars,” added Gary. “Or two thousand fifty, if you happen to have that lying around.”
It didn’t hurt to ask.
Two phones rang; David and Karen got to work.
“Here’s one from the Internet,” said Asmita, handing Indigo the printout, “and it comes with a … not a limerick. It looks like a rap?”
“Ladies and gentlemen, sisters and brothers, Tango Ten from Springfield says …” Indigo cleared his throat and then, with an attempt at rhythm, read
this call goes out to the queen
of the Wildside Diner
aint none finer
girl I’m waitin’ for you
I’m here creatin’ for you
why you hesitatin’
I ain’t overstatin’
you’re my love potion
come to my side
wanna make you my bride
true love is implied.