I’m not sure why, I’ve always been honest with you afterall, but this time I feel the need to assert that I am a fairly normal person.

I have my quirks, sure. I throw my socks into the hamper, for example, and if I miss, I just let them lie there on the floor. Sometimes I’ll wear the same underwear twice. Okay, three times. I really and sincerely like Japanese rock music. I definitely don’t think I’m an odd person.

That said, they’ve been talking to me, by which I mean, the people on the television. They didn’t always do that, and to my best knowledge, they aren’t supposed to, at least, not yet. Now, I’ll clarify. Normal television people at you all the time. Like you are eavesdropping. Every now and then they’ll refer to you in some generic noun like ‘you’. But they aren’t exactly responsive and dynamic conversationalists, if you know what I mean. Well, mine are.

It happened the first time a couple of weeks ago. I had come home from work at the school where I teach history, you know the one, the football team made it to state finals last year. We’re all proud, and if they’d put the same amount of money and backing into the history department, we’d do the same! I grabbed a coke. I guess most working joes would come home to a beer, but you now I never quite acquired the taste for it. Besides, it doesn’t convey quite the right image of an educated man. I’m certain you realize, image is nine tenths of everything (hardly any is hard work). I was going to watch the evening news, find something interesting, maybe a bit for class. Current event curriculum requirement. All that jazz.

Weather was on first. Bright and sunny skies tomorrow. Wind four miles per hour out of the southwest. High of eighty seven. I always had a thing for that weather lady. Trisha Takawa. Sexy glasses. Great T&A. Married to some studio honcho probably. Who knows? Sally hasn’t been around in awhile. She said we don’t communicate well, and we’ve all heard that one before. What a load of…

Sorry. It’s a sensitive topic. Things have been a little lonely around here since she stopped coming around. Three months tomorrow. I tried to call her. Her sister gave me an earful. I don’t know what the hell she wants, and she always had a bug in her ear when it came to me anyway. Women, right? Who needs ‘em? We all know how it goes. That Takawa girl though, that I’ll take, and she can nag about her mom and her cat all she likes. Long as I can look at her.

“Evenin’ Roy.” I didn’t realize it at that moment, but those were the first words out of the TV in my direction, I mean..spoken TO me as opposed to AT me. For the moment though, it stirred me some hearing her say my name right as I was thinking about her, but I thought what any reasonable person would think: I zoned out, then caught a bit out of context. She was talking to the new weather assistant. Some new anchor guy named Roy. The cameraman. Oh no, not that simple.

“Bit of a lonely night? You know, Sally never understood you anyway. You’re the strong, silent type…my type.” That unsettled me some. One hell of a coincidence? Oh definitely. But she was looking right at me, her eyes, well the cathode ray dots of color, aligned perfectly with my own.

“So are you going to come on in, or do I have to beg first?” Spoken like a porno star. On broadcast Channel Eight. On the evening news. The weather lady. I checked the channel just to be sure. I looked around the room…a candid camera joke? Something? Nothing.

“Hello?” What was I saying hello to? A TV weatherlady in some studio a hundred miles away? Like a nutjob? Felt that way at the time.

“And back to you Tom.” “Thanks for the weather, Trisha. Definitely sounds like golfing weather tomorrow, and I hope everyone will get their chance to go out with the clubs. In international news, Iran criticized a….”

They didn’t say anything else to me after that. I didn’t really pay attention after a few minutes. It took me a few minutes, but I managed to dismiss it as a fluke of chance. A deja vu. Didn’t happen, at least, not like I remembered it.

It wasn’t until the weekend I found time to sit in front of the TV again. I know, I know. I’m like everyone else, I normally watch TV a few hours a day, every day. Maybe I felt subconsciously uncomfortable around it after (I imagined) Trisha hitting on me. Maybe I really was busy. I don’t know. But it was Friday evening before I sat down in front of the old boob tube again.

World television premier of the Matrix was on, where the guy finds out that reality isn’t real and decides to wear a lot of leather with a group of S&M dressed kung-fu freedom fighters. I’ve seen it two or three times, I’m sure you’ve seen it at least a couple. Reasonably entertaining. Good movie. Anyway, you know the scene where the Keanu Reeves walks through the metal detectors, loaded down with uzis and machine guns and shotguns and God only knows what else, probably has a straight razor somewhere in there? And he has the huge gunfight. Not a word is said, I remember it specifically.

“Trisha missed you, Roy,” says Reeves, in mid-air, firing some sort of machine gun, killing a bunch of rent-a-cops.

I’m sure you understand, I turned the fucking thing off. I sat there a few minutes dumbfounded. I paced around a bit. Made myself a cup of coffee. Drank it down and paced some more. Went outside in the cool night air. Took a drive, and bought a burrito at TacoBell. Then, I sat there some more. Now I had all sorts of thoughts rolling through my head. It was a practical joke, obviously. I checked that the cable wires were installed properly. I checked if there was a tape in the VCR, and when I didn’t find one, I disconnected the damn thing just to be certain. And then I turned the TV back on. And there was Trisha on Channel 8 in black silk lingerie lying on a bed with red satin sheets and I must admit I think my eyes almost landed on the coffee table judging by how they seemed to pop out of my head.

“I’ve been waiting for you….Roy.” “Is this some kind of joke?”

“I don’t know. Do you think it’s funny? I like a guy with a sense of humor…” I flipped that channel.

Bart Simpson told me to “eat her shorts, man!”

Tony Soprano was his usual crude self.

Jed Clampett just said, “Whew, doggy!” and I had to admit it summed it up pretty effectively.

Leonard Nimoy with his pointed ears suggested that it was illogical to not “reproduce” with this woman given the chance. William Shatner just gave a smug look of approval.

Archie Bunker and Lucille Ball were the only ones with dissenting opinions, and Lucille Ball was making offers of her own.

Then I was back on Channel Eight. The lingerie was on the floor. Trisha was under the covers.

“I can’t show any more…on the air. FCC. You’ll have to come inside.” And she motioned me towards her with her finger.

I thought, what the hell, you know? I was certain I was crazy at this point. But at least it was a naked and seductive weatherlady that was talking to me, as opposed to a dog or a weather vane or some other nonsense. Madness could be bliss! I walked towards the TV.

“Oh yes, Roy!” She beckoned me.

I was within an inch of the screen. Static electricity was all around me; I could feel my hair standing on end. There was some distortion in the TV screen, and Trisha had turned into a double image of herself and…something else. Her jet black hair was red and moving, like fire. Her eyes shifted hue and the lingerie on the floor were snakes, crawling up onto the bed to wind around her. You know, I tried to stop there, but I couldn’t. The static was inside me, and even as I fell backwards onto the floor my hand kept moving closer until I touched the screen.

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19 September 2004