Friday, August 3, 2012
Every week Linda Holmes and her three panelists – Stephen Thompson, Trey Graham, and Glen Weldon – closed the show by telling the listeners what was making them happy this week. If Linda reached that segment without figuring something out she'd not only open herself up to the mocking of her showmates, she would have let down Pop Culture Happy Hour listeners the world over. "Maybe I can just say I caught a rerun of ‘The Sure Thing' on STARZ," she thought. But people would know. People would know.
Before she could begin her introduction, however, a woman burst into the recording studio shouting "TELEGRAM FOR STEPHEN THOMPSON!"
The woman with the telegram looked around the room. "Geez," she said, "I didn't know you guys were live on the radio. Sorry."
"We're not on the radio," said Glen Weldon, who writes about books and comic books for the NPR Website. "This is a podcast."
"What's a podcast?"
"It's like a radio show, only you download it off the Internet," said Glen, who was already trying to figure out how to compress the interaction with the telegram woman into 140 characters or less.
"Don't worry," esteemed producer Mike Katzif said. "I've paused recording."
The woman opened the telegram and read.
"Stephen Thompson, this is your long-lost great uncle Mordechai. I have passed from this mortal coil and I would like to bequeath to you my beloved stand-up arcade ‘Burger Time' machine."
"Holy hat!" yelled Stephen Thompson, who is an editor for NPR Music. "I love Burger Time almost as much as I love the Green Bay Packers and/or Clem Snide!"
The woman continued. "In order to claim this machine, you must spend the night in the McKittrick Hotel. Once you emerge in the morning, the arcade machine shall be yours! You must leave immediately!"
Stephen looked dejected. "I can't leave my post here at Pop Culture Happy Hour. Not so close to Appreciation Day!"
"Don't worry, Stephen," said Mike Katzif. "We can all go and record the show on remote. I can set that up easily."
"If you know anything at all about German art songs, then you know that we would all hate to be the reason you missed out on that Burger Time machine," said Trey Graham, who is an editor at NPR Movies.
Linda Holmes breathed a silent sigh of relief. This would provide ample time for her to figure out what was making her happy that week.
Meanwhile, in the McKittrick Hotel, Hecate gazed into her scrying pool then turned to her familiar, the Speakeasy Barman. "Alert the witches," she said. "They're coming."