Random McDooglefish and The Radio Shack

Random McDooglefish was a kid just like any other kid. Except not.

Other kids had after school activities like sports, tuba lessons, or even karate. Not Random McDooglefish.

He was the only kid he knew who had his hobby.

When Random was younger, his Dad brought him out to the magical shack in their backyard where a mysterious device called a “ham radio” could transport a kid to amazing, far away lands.

“Random, I think you are old enough now to learn the secrets of the ham radio.” he said mysteriously.

Random didn’t have any words. He just stared at the knobs and dials and wondered at the strange smell of old electronics and musty wood.

“The number one rule for using this radio is to treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect because you never know who you might be talking to or what their story might be.”

Random nodded his head in agreement but he couldn’t pull his eyes away from needles jumping in their little displays and the sound of distant voices echoing through the radio shack.

“Now watch this…” Random’s Dad said as he reached for the microphone.

It was a warm spring afternoon when Random pushed open the door to the radio shack and settled into the creaky old chair. He took a deep breath and flipped on the power switch. He watched the radio come to life.

The needles in the dials began to hop. The fans began to whir. Electronics began to tick. Dials lit up. Then, magically, voices began to come through the speakers in the shack.

Random pulled a microphone across the desk. He put a pair of swim goggles over his eyes and pushed his dusty fedora down onto his head. Adventure was calling.

Slowly. Carefully. He turned a knob to dial in a frequency. Once he had it he said,

“This is Romeo Delta Mike Delta Zero Seven, can I get a radio check?”

He held his breath. He could feel the butterflies in his stomach that always seemed to make an appearance just before the shack worked it’s magic.

“Hello RDMD07! This is Charlie Yankee Victor Seven Bravo Whiskey! I read you loud and clear! How are you today?”

“I’m doing great, CYV7BW! What are you up to?”

There was a slight pause. Random hoped he hadn’t lost the connection. The magic wouldn’t work without a strong connection.

Then with a slight hiss of static he heard, “Oh, just hauling gravel in Oklahoma.”

Suddenly, the butterflies in his stomach began to shake and shimmy. It was almost as if he was bumping along in a truck hauling gravel on a construction site. Then the familiar musty smell of the radio shack began to change. He could smell diesel and asphalt.

The creaky old chair he was sitting in began to bounce! He reached up and held his fedora down and closed his eyes behind the goggles!

When he opened them again he was sitting in the cab of the truck right next to CYV7BW!

The time seemed to fly by as Random learned everything he could about trucks and hauling gravel. CYV7BW taught him about pea gravel and asphalt and about what it was like driving a big truck on busy roads.

Suddenly, he heard a quiet voice that seemed to come from outside of the cab. He squinted his eyes and listened harder.

“Random! Dinner!”

Random felt the butterflies in his stomach again. The bouncing cab of the truck began to fade and was replaced with the walls of the radio shack and before he knew it he was back in the creaky chair with goggles and fedora slightly askew.

“Thanks for the visit, CYV7BW.” Random said just as his mother came in and gave him a sideways glance at the look of his swim goggles and dusty fedora.

Random slowly pushed the microphone back to its place on the desk. He took off his dusty fedora and his swim goggles and placed them on top of the radio.

“Well, where’d you visit today?” Random’s mom asked.

“Oklahoma!” Random said excitedly and began to recount his adventure meeting the gravel hauling truck driver.

“Alright, well come on inside for dinner.”

Random nodded. He flipped the switch and listened as the fans powered down and the radio gave a slight electronic whine as if saying, “Do you really have to go?”

Random pulled the string in the middle of the shack and suddenly the room was dark. The butterflies in his stomach settled and were replaced with a low growl of hunger.

He shut the door to the magical radio shack and headed into the house.

Random McDooglefish was a kid just like any other kid. Except not.

He was the only kid he knew who had a magical radio shack in his backyard.

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