7. Annotated Bibliography
The events that happened after the call from Ms. Reed are a little complicated. Looking back I feel like everything was at double speed, moving faster than I could manage, but I’m sure it was all normal.
I have to tell you about the radio program, though, before any of it can make sense.
I always have the impulse to run through the radio wherever I am. It’s one way that I orient myself to a new place. I’m tied to an outdated idea of broadcasting, but I feel like I can have a certain type of understanding about a place when I go through the dial, listening to local commercials on a classic rock station or hearing some pastor gripe about the abominations happening in his listening area. When I moved to Milford, I settled often on a station around the 99 FM frequency with the call letters WXIX. I only caught parts of it. It had the jaunty unpredictability of college radio and there were no commercials. There were a few oddly placed public service announcements about not having lamps plugged in near swimming pools and putting your leftovers away to avoid foodborne illness. I assumed it was either community radio or some type of public access thing.
One show stood out as particularly odd, ambient music with random story telling. One minute the guy was talking about seeing a rabid fox and the next he was talking about radiation damage to film. When I heard Pow Wow or Long Lost Friend, my attention shifted. It seemed like such an odd coincidence, as the book sat in the car seat next to me. I had planned to look through it at home.
I asked Ime about it and she thought it was a program that she’d heard a few times on the college radio station run by students. She thought it was called Annotated Bibliography. She listened to it sometimes, she said, or at least didn’t turn it off when it was on. Supposedly it was some random PhD student going on about the books they were using for their dissertation. It was sort of an ongoing joke, though, because someone at the university had told her that the program had been on forever and no one really knew who ran it. She laughed that most PhD programs had a ten year cap, but the show had supposedly been on for almost twenty years.
After learning more about the radio show, I tried to record parts of it when I caught it on the airwaves. It came on at random times. I set up an old tape deck and felt like a kid again, trying to record my favorite songs on Rick Dees' The Weekly Top 40. I heard the Pow Wow reference again and was able to catch it on tape.
I don’t believe in synchronicity, at least in that sense that causes conspiracies to thrive. Perhaps it is my modern self that is closed off to that idea. The recordings, though, overlapped with a lot of what I discovered in the trailer and about the families that lived around Quiet Lake. Coincidence, I guess, that led me to seeing some part of the story that I would have otherwise missed.
I saw the person who had been breaking into the trailer around this time, too. As I was reading, I noticed movement in my peripheral vision, and looked at the set of double windows at one end of the trailer. I sat still and observed as a person, dressed in gray clothes, came through the window and placed their feet on the bookshelves, strategically dodging all of the books.
It felt like hours before they realized I was sitting there even though I’m sure it was seconds.
When they did see me, they ran back towards the window that they’d come in from but thought twice, opting for the door to the trailer. They gave me a little push on the shoulder but I was still sitting in the chair and it barely registered to me. They left through the door, the screen smacking against the side of the trailer, and I got up to see them running back towards the main road.
I installed another camera in the corner of the trailer pointed towards the window and again watched for the intruder. I felt slimy watching the video cameras. I swore I’d never buy one, but I wanted to see who was breaking into the trailer.
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