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The Drawbridge (episode)

Rabbits are not what they seem to be. Welcome to Night Vale.


We've had some power outages reported throughout Night Vale in the last couple of hours. If you're experiencing one, well then you can't hear me, can you? The Night Vale municipal utility department said that they are still working to determine the cause of the outages, which are roving back and forth across town in a continuous motion, like a great pacing beast. Those whose neighborhoods have been hit by the outages reported the shriek of hawks overhead, and that when the lights came back on, they felt that perhaps they were different people, their memories and identities were the same as always, but suddenly felt like costumes that didn't fit exactly, as though it all were actually brand new to them. As though they had been switched out with someone who was exactly like them. As though all that was familiar would ever after be strange. Keep some flashlights with spare batteries and a childhood photo album by you tonight, just in case.


The revitalization of the Old Town Drawbridge experienced another setback this week, as engineers determined that the furniture upholstery used to construct the bridge towers soaks up water and creates an unstable foundation. This week's collapse was the third in as many months. Construction crews have tried building the bridge tower base supports from corrugated cardboard, non-dairy creamer, and ceramic bowls. Nothing has worked. Engineers are asking for help in determining how proper bridge towers are made. If you have any tips, please write them on notebook paper and mail them to Bridge Magic, LLC, PO Box 1616. Do not use cursive or long words. Clearly labeled drawings are preferred.


Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again. Time for our annual pledge drive. Sorry to have to do this, but, you know, Night Vale has a lot of community-supported radio, and the thing about community-supported radio—it's supported by listeners like you. As well as Guatemala and some teamsters, who are, sometimes, just too generous. Any amount you can give will help us continue our community programming. A dollar, or two, or even plasma. Take WZZZ, our local numbers station, broadcasting from that strange and tall antenna built out back of the abandoned gas station on Oxford Street. Did you know that it broadcasts a monotone female voice reading out seemingly random numbers interspersed with chimes twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week? As you can imagine, that kind of work doesn't bring in a lot of money—unless it does. To be honest, here at Night Vale Radio we don't know exactly what that station is for, or what master it is serving. But I do know that it is a vital part of this community, and we should pitch in to help it. We welcome your support. Give us a call! We don't have a number; just whisper, "Forsaken Algonquinia" into your phone receiver, and angels, or Facebook, or something, will deliver an appropriate contribution from your bank account.


More on the Drawbridge debacle. It was turmoil in city headquarters this morning. Following this latest in a long line of municipal failures, the city council has come under fire from concerned citizens for wasting taxpayer money on inefficient services that go over budget and over schedule. One critic, who wished to remain anonymous, said, "We don't even have a river or bay in Night Vale. There would never be a boat to necessitate a drawbridge!" He continued to...you know what? Forget it. I can tell you right now that that was Steve Carlsberg who said that, and he is such a spoilsport, that Steve! Have you ever noticed how he never replaces his hubcaps? It's laziness, pure and simple. Laziness. I just can't let him ruin our town by denying Night Vale a drawbridge when he can't even care for a tan Corolla!


The Night Vale Daily Journal has announced that, due to spiraling printing costs, they will be replacing the print edition of the paper with a special new Imagination Edition. Editor Leann Hart explains, "Instead of confining our customers to the outdated modes of ink on paper, we are allowing them to choose the news that interests them by imagining whatever news they want. This will not only save costs but allow customers to experience the news as a full-color, full-motion experience taking place in a mental world that is tailored to their needs." Subscription to this edition will be compulsory and automatic and will cost a mere $60 a month.


This Friday, at Night Vale High's Memorial Stadium, it's the annual softball showdown between the Night Vale Fire Department and the Sheriff's Secret Police. Proceeds from the game will go to support development of nuclear weaponry for a strongly religious Indonesian militia that is looking to overthrow their heretical government, as well as to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So, even if you don't like softball, come on out and support a couple of great causes. Last year's game ended in a rout, as the secret police hit three home runs in the eighth and ninth innings. The firefighters claimed that there was some foul play involved—pun intended, dear listeners—as their entire bullpen was assassinated in the middle innings with blow darts. Those murders remain unsolved and completely uninvestigated. Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased relief pitchers. Rest in peace. It should be a fun one! Expect a real revenge-minded fire department to take the field on Friday. Tickets are only $10, or $5 if you bring enriched yellowcake uranium. Black helicopters will be mind-scanning the town on game day, hunting down those who do not attend. The first 500 fans receive surgically applied working gills.


Notice: there is no digital, static-y hum coming from the dog park, Mayor Pamela Winchell announced today. The mayor stressed repeatedly in her ninety-second impromptu press conference that there is no unbearable, soul-tearing sound that rips at the sinews of your very being coming from the dog park. Mayor Winchell continued with a plea for all Night Vale residents to understand that there could not possibly be a deeply coded message emanating from a small, fenced-in patch of municipal grass and dirt. Citizens are not even supposed to be consciously aware of the dog park, so they could not possibly be receiving a menacing and unearthly voice instructing listeners to bring precious metals and toddlers to the dog park. "Dog park," she repeated. "That could never, ever be real," the mayor shouted, pounding the podium with her bleeding fists. There were no follow-up questions.


And now, a word from our sponsors!


-long, drawn out moaning-


And now, traffic.


There's a stalled car on the northbound on-ramp to the eastern expressway just south of Route 800. Commuters should have little delays, as highway patrol is fiercely denying this report. In fact, police representatives have just issued a statement claiming that there are no cars anywhere, and, "What are you doing, talking about them, talking silly lies, you silly people, there are no cars! What is this fiction? Oh, please, did you seriously believe for a second? Wait. Wait, you thought that cars were real?" The highway patrol continued, "Oh, that is rich." All other roads seem clear. Expect delays, of course, at the drawbridge construction site, because it is years away from being competently finished.


Here are this week's horoscopes.


Virgo: go see a movie today. It's a great escape! Especially from all this pollution and dangerous UV radiation. Say, is that mole new?


Libra: your dreams will be filled with prophetic visions. Write them down. Hopefully, there are some lottery numbers or sports scores in there.


Scorpio: curse you. Curse your family. Curse your children. And your children's children. Vile, vile Scorpio.


Sagittarius: eat well today! You've earned it. And by it, I mean massive food allergies. And by earned, I mean acquired. I should proof this stuff before I read it out loud. Let's try that again. You've acquired massive food allergies. Yes, much cleaner. Eat well!


Capricorn: those were not contact lenses you put in this morning. Best not think about this again.


Aquarius: the white ball will be under the middle shell. Trust the stars. Invest all your money in this lucrative street game.


Pisces: You've won a brand new car!


Aries: you will feel a haunting sadness about times gone by. Today's smell is wheatgrass and toast.


Taurus: today is your annual Crime Day. All Tauruses are exempt from laws today.


Gemini: you will meet someone today who will have no effect on your life, and who you will immediately forget. Retain hope for a possible future.


Cancer: I've gotta pay my phone bill, and also get some more milk. That wasn't me talking—that is what the stars say today. Interpret it as you will.


Leo: it's better that I don't read this aloud. Better that you not know. Tell your family that you love them.


That has been this week's horoscopes.


Good news for radio-controlled airplane hobbyists. Those unidentifiable black metallic trees that suddenly appeared by the library back in June and caused all airborne objects above thirty feet to catch fire? Well, they've finally been cleared away, as a new strip mall and parking lot are being developed. The Night Vale Airport, local birdwatchers, and that nice epileptic couple who run the Emergency Services helicopter are just pleased as pleased can be about the news. Several petitions, however, have cropped up from neighborhood improvement organizations. Juanita Jefferson, head of one such organization, Night Vale Or Nothing, said, "...treeeeees...they are us..." Jefferson then paused for several minutes without blinking and whispered again, "...treeeeeees," before collapsing into tears and loud moaning. Jefferson was then taken by helicopter to Night Vale General Hospital, where she is reportedly in stable condition. This morning, Jefferson's lawyer issued a statement saying: "My client fully recognizes the irony of this helicopter trip, but she stands by her earlier pronouncement, 'Trees, trees; they are us.'"


Meanwhile, I hear from trustworthy informants that there will be a Pinkberry at the new strip mall. Delicious!


This just in on Drawbridge Gate. The city council said that, in response to this week's collapse, they will increase the project budget by twenty million dollars over the next fourteen years—the new timeline for the bridge. Money for these extra expenses will come from school lunch programs, a 65% hotel tax, and a $276 bridge toll, which will be discounted to $249 with E-Z Pass.


And now for a station editorial.


Large, expensive projects are not uncommon in Night Vale. We are a patient but resilient little city. We have big dreams—sometimes scary, unforgettable dreams that repeat on the same date every year and are shared by every person in town—but we make those big dreams come true. Remember the clock tower? It took eight years and twenty-three million dollars to build, and despite its invisibility and constant teleportation, it is a lovely structure that keeps impeccable time. It's a classy signature for Night Vale's growing skyline, unlike that hideous sports arena Desert Bluffs built last spring. Desert Bluffs can't do anything right. That's where Steve Carlsberg belongs! God, what a jerk.


And now, the weather!


(Aye, Dio)


Apparently, the Sheriff's Secret Police agree with me about old Steve Carlsberg, dear listeners. We just received a report from a reliable witness that two days ago, Steve was whisked into the back of a windowless van, only to reappear earlier this morning wearing thick head bandages and eating Styrofoam shaped like an ice cream cone.


I want to take this moment to thank all of you out there, for all of the generous donations that you may or may not be aware that you just made. During this show, we have raised just a hair over $45,000, which includes a $45,000 donation from a certain anonymous world leader. I can't tell you who—let's just say, muchos gracias, El Presidente! –speaks Spanish- Thank you again for your involuntary support of community radio. We couldn't do it without the support of listeners like you, in conjunction with unethical contributions from nefarious organizations. And with that, I leave you alone with your thoughts, folks. Stay tuned next for Zydeco Note By Note, a special two-hour verbal description of what zydeco music sounds like. Buenos noches, Night Vale. Goodnight.

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