Late Night Broadcast from Momma Truth at Barnacle Radio
The following is a transcript of a recent broadcast by Momma Truth of Barnacle Radio, the outlaw radio station in the wild and windy port city of Rockscar. She is interviewing a thirteen-year old citizen of Rockscar about his life, his job and the current water crisis.
Barnacle Radio does not have a licence and broadcasts from a secret location.It is illegal to listen to it. However, during the present water shortages and the rumours of unrest more people are tuning in than ever. Many citizens are familiar with Momma Truth’s warm, laid-back voice bringing them the latest news and gossip through the night. Her identity, of course, remains a secret, known only to a few friends and colleagues.
Momma Truth: Good evening to all our listeners, this is Momma Truth of Barnacle Radio. We are the only outlaw radio station broadcasting here in the wild and windy port of Rockscar. And just in case you’re new to our city, Rockscar is known as the Big Barnacle, because it’s clinging onto the steep side of the mountain right next to the deep blue sea.
This is your Momma bringing you the midnight news, the views and the rumours that you won’t hear from anyone else on air. We’ve a guest in our secret studio tonight. He’s here as part of our series of interviews with young people about their lives in the city. Just for tonight his name is going to be Mr X.
Mr X (sounding out of breath ) Thanks because, you know, I’d like to be a bit anonymous. No one wants any problems, especially not these days-
Momma Truth: You’re at Barnacle Radio. We understand anonymous better than anyone.
Mr X: Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m just, you know, nervous. I even fell over on the stairs, they’re so steep and there’s so many-
Momma Truth: (quickly) There are no stairs here.
Mr X: Oh yes! No! Of course not here. I meant I fell on, on . . .
Momma Truth: You mean the famously steep steps in Sugartown down to the wharf from the Dock Road, I expect.
Mr X: coughs. Momma Truth: I think it’s safe to say you work in the Flower Market and you make deliveries. The flower market is a busy district. Many people work there.
Mr X: Yes. I’ve got a handcart and I also have a trailer that I can attach to the back of my scooter. That’s a lot easier. Momma Truth: Scooters are the most effective way of getting around . . .
Mr X: Yes. Mine’s a specially adapted Favolosa Mark 4. Obviously I’d really like a Wind Shadow. I mean, who wouldn’t. But they’re far too expensive. But my Favolosa’s really tough, you know. She’s been specially adapted for the steep streets. And she’s got three extra mirrors and a really powerful fog lamp.It was all done by my friend from Parchment Street, Clovis Gr-
(There is a rustle and a thud . Momma Truth has put her hand over the microphone. Sounds of muffled voices.)
Momma Truth: No names, darling, not even when we’re just talking about scooters.
Mr X: I know, I’m sorry, I mean . . . someone I know modified it. He’s younger than me but he’s really good with engines.
Momma Truth: And you’re not particularly old yourself, are you, Mr X?
Mr X: (sounding offended) I’m old enough to be working. I’ll be fourteen next month, August the third, my birthday . . .(he trails off)
Momma Truth: So, tell us about your job
Mr X: I deliver flowers to the shops. My boss is a wholesaler. He gets flowers from farms inland. Miles away. Across the wilderness. The flowers come in on the freight train.
Momma Truth: Do you start very early in the morning?
Mr X: Yes. I work late at night and early in the mornings. I sleep in the warehouse. I’ve got a bedroll there.
Mr X: Well, actually I live there .I don’t come from Rockscar originally, you see. I was working in the galley on a coal boat. We docked at Rockscar and I jumped ship. Captain was a right b-
Momma Truth (quickly) So you’ve no family here in Rockscar?
Mr X:(fiercely) There’s plenty like me.
Momma Truth: Yes, of course there are.
Mr X: (cheerfully) I’m very lucky to have this job. My worry is that this terrible water shortage we’re having will stop the flower trade altogether.
Momma Truth: So, tell our listeners about how the water shortages are affecting you, Mr X.
Mr X: Well, it’s in all the papers and on the radio about how it isn’t too bad. But actually everybody knows it’s very bad. I’m spending a couple of hours every evening queuing at the Bloom Street Pump just for half a bucketful. Tempers can get a bit frayed, I can tell you.
Momma Truth: This is what we’ve been hearing from our contacts all over the city.
Mr X: Water’s more important than anything.
Momma Truth: Yes.
Mr X: The toilet at the warehouse keeps blocking. There’s flies. It stinks. The tap at the warehouse is often just dry. Or the water is brown. I haven’t washed properly for weeks. Any water I get I save for drinking and cleaning my teeth. Cooking’s really difficult. And I’m fortunate . . .
Momma Truth: You are?
Mr X: I’ve got a job. I can afford to buy lemonade. Although it’s getting more and more expensive.
Momma Truth: So, who do you blame for all this?
Mr X: Well, no one likes to talk, do they . . . I mean, the mayor’s a bit mad, isn’t he . . .Mr Scarspring. He’s always looking for wilderness trolls. Not everyone is sure they exist. And he’s also the head of the Scarspring Water Company. They own all the water supplies, don’t they? Well, almost all. No one else is allowed to sell water. Only the Scarspring Water Company have a licence. They own the pipes and the wells and the reservoirs, everthing. So Mayor Scarspring really should do something. Then there’s Steward Golightly . . . He works for the Scarsprings too. A lot of people are frightened of him
Momma Truth: He’s a powerful man.
Mr X: Yes. They say you can end up in the Cat’s Tail if you tangle with him.
(The Cat’s Tail is a deep and dangerous open sewer running through Pedders Town, a district of Rockscar).
Mr X: Have you heard about the Ice Angel?
Momma Truth: We’ve heard rumours.
Mr X: It’s an outlaw ice cream van. Everybody’s talking about it. People say they’ve got this beautiful carved angel on the front of the van. They’re nothing to do with the Scarspring Water Company at all so they haven’t got a licence. They give away bottles of clean water and sell brilliant ices. They sneak around the city in the middle of the night. The police haven’t caught them yet.
Momma Truth: Well, let’s hope they never do.
Mr X: It’s just a couple of kids same sort of age as me. My friend saw them one night, I won’t say where, but he said the chocolate ice cream was the best he’d ever tasted.
Momma Truth: Thank you very much, darling, we’re running out of time. Would you like to request a piece of music?
Mr X: Yes please. I’d like The Green Hat Band playing their new song, ‘My Red Hot Rose.’
Momma Truth: THANK YOU Mr X.
(faint sounds of laughter, voices and chairs scraping on a wooden floor)