I’d just come out of the restroom and was flattening my skirt against my hands when I heard my name called out. Working for a radio station was going to take some getting used to. I’d expected something more structured, but no. Everyone was totally casual here.
“They want you in the studio,” Graham, the station manager, told me he walked beside me on my way back to my desk.
“Why me?” I asked him because I’d been here a few weeks and this was a new request. I’d started this internship when my classes had ended in May. Now it was the end of June and I’d gotten comfortable with the monotony of the accounting department. This was, after all, what I was going to school for and what I’d be doing for the rest of my life. The entire rest of my life.
Graham shrugged. He was in his early thirties and had dark blond hair with light brown eyes. Very average-looking as far as I was concerned, but I’d also been conditioned to not be boy crazy. For all I knew, he was the hottest guy out there.
“This is something they like to do with all of the interns,” he told me. “The audience loves it, so…”
So I’d better get my ass in there. Got it. “On my way.”
The studios were out front, situated on each side of the receptionist’s desk. Which meant anyone who walked in could watch the on-air talent as they waited. One side was the country station and the other was the pop station. That was where I was headed, but there was another studio around the back for their classic rock station.
I loved this place. When I’d been told there had been an internship opening for me, I’d expected it to be in a stuffy CPA office. Sure, I was in the stuffy part, but this was a radio station and there were always fun things happening around me, even if I couldn’t participate.
Approaching the studio, I was suddenly gripped with uncertainty. Should I knock? Just go in? I had no idea how this worked.
“They’re expecting you,” the receptionist, Penny, told me. She was young, around my age, with bright pink hair. She was also the nicest person in the place and that was saying something, given that everyone had been super nice to me. “You can just go in.”
I gave her a nod in appreciation and pushed through the door.
“There she is,” Ned, one of the morning DJs, said when I came in. Made me think that they’d been talking about me before my arrival. “Come on in, intern.”
Wow, I supposed that was my nickname now.
Ned didn’t look at all like he sounded. I had expected a tall, good-looking man like the classically chiseled movie stars from the ’40s.
Nope. Ned was maybe five-feet-six-inches. Still taller than me, but that was short for a guy. He was also tan-skinned and balding at forty-two years old. I’d come to know a lot about the personalities since I’d started, but most of that he’d said himself on air.
“Grab a headset,” Brian, the other DJ, urged me. He looked closer to what I’d thought Ned would look like, but still, his voice didn’t match his face. He spoke with a softer style, even when he was excited. “Pull up to that mic there.” All of this was being said on air, too. The light telling me that was solid red on the front wall.
My stomach tightened with nerves. I never expected to be on the air and for the life of me couldn’t figure out why I was the one called in here.
“Hi,” Ned urged me as I got settled.
“Let’s get you introduced.” Ned led a lot of the conversation on regular days. There was no reason to think it’d be any different today.
“I’m Jurnie,” I said, then I cleared my throat. I’d noticed over the weeks I’d been here that they never said the interns’ last names on the air. This was what I imagined being on TV was like, and though there was no camera on my face, it still felt heated and was probably flushed.
“Jurnie, that’s a great name,” he told me.
“I’ll tell my mom you said that.”
“I bet she tells you that having a kid is a journey and that’s how you got your name.” The two of them laughed at the same joke I’d heard since about second grade. “OK, Jurnie, you’re an intern in the accounting department, right?”
“Boring,” Brian offered and he wasn’t wrong.
I’d chosen accounting because it was a safe choice and I thought I’d like it. I was wrong but in my family changing my mind isn’t an easy thing to do.
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