I am at the radio station waiting for the DJ to finish his set. A big time personality, listeners love him for his charisma and practiced speaking style. He’s not quite as big as the other DJs, on the account of him missing out on the big promotional events for the station. He’s still undeniably better than the rest of them however. I’m nervous.
The radio in the meeting room is naturally turned to the stations channel. I hear him expertly fade out of the last pop love song and transitions into the latest single by an up and coming independent band. It’s a bit less accessible lyrically than most of the music the station plays but it’s catchy melodies and pop flavored beats captured an audience despite that. Most people I’ve met agree that he’s likely the reason the song’s had this much exposure. Some even tell me that he might have made the band with it.
The song ends and I hear him fade out and say his goodbyes once again to his audience. Despite being on the air for years he somehow seems to find a way to make every intro and outro feel personal. The door opens. I stand up to greet him. He stares past me, not noticing me. He almost walks right past me. I speak up. “Sir, I…?”
He turns to me. “Ah, I didn’t notice you there,” he remarks, “which is impressive I suppose, considering how keen I am to the people around me.” His eyes are a glassy steel blue. His hair is a mangled mess of curls, his lips pale against his speckled dark skin. He’s dressed in a casual white button up and blue jeans. Plain, very plain.
He chuckles. “You’ll have to forgive me for ignoring you. You have my full attention now.”
“Yes, I um—what I mean to say that I’ve been hired to be your new assistant.”
“Fantastic! Let’s do lunch and get to know each other then, shall we?”
His gaze is unnerving, his eye contact is off.
“No need to be so formal, my boy. Now, could you show me to the door?”
We do lunch. I placed I picked a across the street a block away. Sandwiches and panini. This is more agency than I’ve generally been trusted to have. We talk.
“Now, if you’re to be my assistant I’m going to be trusting you with a lot of decisions, but considering you found this great place on the first day of the job I think you’ll be be a fine fit.”
“With all do respect, the place is right across the street. I mean you walk out the door and it’s right in front of your–”
I stop. Horrified. A moment, then he laughs a deep, hearty laugh.
“You meant to say it’s right in front of my face? Don’t be shy, boy. It’s no fun if you can’t make a few jokes at my expense.”
I sulk for a bit. Despite his good humor I still feel like an inconsiderate idiot.
“Let me tell you something,” he starts to speak again, his voice immediately grabbing my attention, “ all my previous assistants, they’d always go out of their way to please me. Drive me halfway across the city for a meal at some restaurant they’d heard had great ambiance or some incredible dish. You? You took me right across the street for a damn sandwich!”
“I’m sorry, I–”
“Don’t apologize! See, this is exactly what I want. An unpretentious, easy food. Grab the damn thing and maybe dip it into some sauce and take a bite. No need to worry about table manners or dressing up for the occasion.”
He goes quiet for a moment, then takes a large bite of his sandwich.
“Despite having both their eyes working, none of those others could ever see it. I’m just happy to be a person, sitting here and enjoying a meal. It’s that simple.”