The silver orb gleamed in the light. Resting on a long metal tube extending from a circular base, nothing had ever terrified Jonathan more. He glanced at the clock. Three minutes left. He rolled his chair closer to the desk, grasped the tube in his right hand, and pulled the orb closer. A wave of heat flashed through him and he dabbed his forehead with a towel in his left hand. The roaring in his ears grew louder as he double checked the status on the monitors. A quick high-pitched but not unpleasant beep, beep, beep broke through the noise in his head.
"Two minutes to go Jonny. Ads are rolling now, I'll start your introduction when they end. You'll go live immediately after, just like we rehearsed yesterday," Steven's calm voice came through the headphones Jonathan wore.
He nodded, eyes wide.
"Jonny? You there bud?"
"We must have an audio issue. I can barely hear you. Damn! I knew we should have run a few more tests. Ok, give me a sec-"
"It's ok," Jonathan said louder, and swallowing hard. "I-I just lost my voice there a bit." He dabbed his face and released his death grip on the microphone. It's shiny surface reflected a distorted version of himself stretched around the sphere, broken in spots by the mesh that let his voice travel through.
"Yeah, that's better. Look, I know it's your first live show and your nerves are probably on edge."
You have no idea, Jonathan thought as his heartbeat began pounding in his ears.
"Everyone's nervous their first time. But you're here for a reason, remember that," Steven paused, "Time check, thirty seconds. Take a couple of deep breaths, shake out the nervousness and be ready to go at the end of your intro. We've already got ten calls on hold for you. They warned me you'd be popular! No catching up on my reading during your show. Time check, fifteen seconds. You got this bud, right?"
"Yes. Yes I do," he said sitting up taller in his chair, dabbing his forehead again. "No problem at all..."
"Awesome! Remember I'm here for you behind the scenes, keep an eye on the system chat in the bottom left corner of the screen. Time check, intro rolling..."
The bumper music played in his ear and a man with an unbelievably deep voice told the audience how lucky they were to be listening to the internet radio station KFLY and their newest host. The introduction ended and Jonathan miraculously became Jonny.
"Hey everyone. This is Jonny James on KFLY radio and I'm so glad you could join us for the premier of Everything and Anything. I'd like to jump right in and take some calls rather than bore you with the overly pedantic babbling I tend to do. Sooooo, Caller one. Tell us your name, where you're from, and whatever it is you want to share tonight."
A high pitched voice emanated from the earphones. "Hi..Hi.. I am... My name... is..Lorentisa."
Jonny responded, trying to exude energy. "OK Lorrrentisa, Thanks for calling in. Your speaking from.. ??"
There was no reply.
"Hey there, we all want to know where you are from Lorentisa. And what do you want to share with us?"
The caller responded this time. "Uhh I don't want to share. Bye." The line was disconnected.
"OK.. This was an unexpected beginning to our evening. Now it is SURELY going to go Better and BEETTTTER. I am more charged now in anticipation of my next caller so lets go straight on."
Jonny punched the receive button and started again. "Hey there Caller! So can you tell us your name and where you are speaking from to begin with?"
This time it was a girls voice. "I Hate You! I Hate You! I Hate You!"
and the buzz of a disconnected line followed.
Jonny not willing to be cowed down continued.
"Now here's the thing. It takes two negatives to make a positive. So this time I am doubly sure we are going to have a fun evening on KFLY radio. No! No! don't clap just yet the good times are ahead. In fact, this just reminds me of the time I got a chemical burn on my wrist on the vey first day of college. But as it happens I met the love of my life Verona at the nurses station and boy am I glad for that burn! Now, Let's get in another caller who is on hold."
Taking a deep breath to calm his shaking hands Jonny shook himself mentally before once again punching the receive button and started to speak.
"Sooooo, Dear Caller . Tell us your name, where you're from, and whatever it is you want to share tonight."
"This is Denzel Washington from the Big Apple. How are you Jonny?" The distinctive voice conforming that it was the famous actor at the other end.
"Hell Mr. Washington you just made my evening! OOPS! Welcome to KFLY radiooo. Folks. We have The Equalizer himself with us.."
For the next hour Jonny never lost a beat; speaking and receiving calls and even singing a few lines. On the completion of the show the first thing he did was type out a thank you tweet to the veteran actor who had saved the day.
PICTURE CREDIT: PIXABAY.COM