Listen to Your Heart

Page 12


“I’m Doug,” a guy said. “And my problem is with the local pizza place. I ordered a pizza there the other day and they were very skimpy with their toppings. I called them back to complain and they said, not my problem. But it is their problem. It’s their pizza place. Are you one of those programs who will show up at businesses and demand answers from them?”
“No,” I said.
“Doug, is it?” Victoria asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“We feel your plight.”
Plight? I mouthed to Alana, and she bit back a smile.
“Next time you go into the pizza place,” Victoria continued, “maybe ask for a manager and see if they will give you a discount due to your bad experience. And tell them about your penchant for lots of toppings. I think telling someone before the pizza is made instead of once it’s already in your living room is the best way to go.”
Were we really giving advice on pizza toppings? I couldn’t believe this. I could feel the eyes of the entire production group on us. This podcast would go down as the worst in the history of this class. Ms. Lyon would use us as examples of what not to do for future classes. I wondered if we’d have to change topics after this first podcast. Maybe just changing the title would work. The title was my stupid idea, too.
I tried to focus. Was Victoria still talking to this pizza guy? No, she was wrapping it up now. “Thanks for calling in. Good luck on your next food quest.” The phone line was disconnected and she looked at me. “When I’m hungry, I’m always the most irritable. I could totally understand how he was feeling.”
“Yes, the plight of the undertopped pizza,” I said.
“I could go for a pizza right now, undertopped or not,” Victoria said. “Yum.”
I smiled. Ms. Lyon pointed at the microphone as if to say a smile could not be heard. I tried a small chuckle. It did not go well.
The phones were eerily silent again. I knew Ms. Lyon said we could edit out all this dead air but if there weren’t any other calls, there would be nothing to fill the dead air with. I looked to Alana again for reassurance but she was no longer at her post. I searched the small room and my headphones slipped off the back of my head again. I readjusted them. A red light blinked; a new call was coming through.
“Hello,” Victoria said, when the call was patched through to our headsets. “You’re on Not My Problem.”
“I have a problem,” a girl said. The voice seemed vaguely familiar but affected in some way. Like she was trying to disguise it.
“What’s your name, caller?”
“I’d rather not say.”
“Okay,” Victoria said. “A mystery. I like it. Do you like mysteries, Kat?”
If she called me Kat one more time, there would be no mystery as to what my fist would do to her face. Okay, fine, there would be because I’d never punched anyone in my life. My thoughts talked a big game. “I do like mysteries,” I replied. “And it’s Kate.”
“So what’s your problem, caller?” Victoria asked.
“It’s about my friend.”
I gasped. The caller was Alana. I almost blurted her name into the mic, but I managed to hold my tongue.
Victoria gave me a sideways glance but said, “Okay. Tell us.”
“I have a friend, my best friend in the whole world, and I fear she’s not over her ex. He moved away and hasn’t kept in touch with her at all, despite her efforts, and she still can’t move on.”
I could both kill and hug Alana at the same time. She’d seen our podcast crashing and burning and she was helping me out. But on the other hand, she was choosing her helpful moment to shed light on the problem she knew I had. Clever girl.
“That’s a hard one,” Victoria said.
“Not hard at all,” I jumped in. “Give your friend some time. She obviously really liked her boyfriend and now just wants to take a break from love for a while. What’s wrong with that?”
Victoria widened her eyes at me, obviously surprised at my forceful response when I’d been so quiet up until that point.
“Maybe you can set your friend up on a date,” Victoria offered. “Show her that there are other fish in the sea.”
“I don’t think that’s necessary,” I said. “Your friend is probably perfectly capable of finding her own fish when she’s ready to eat fish again.”
“Nobody said anything about eating fish, Kat,” Alana said.
Even though she wasn’t in front of me, I could practically see the teasing glint in her eye as she used the name I hated. I’d forgive her for all of this, because she was totally saving me right now. She was saving me, even though she would’ve loved to have been sitting where I was sitting. She really was the best friend ever.
“You’re right, dating them is worse,” I said.
“Well,” Victoria said, “you know what they say. The best way to get over someone is to start loving someone else.”
“Who says that?” I asked.
“We’ll be quoting ‘they’ a lot around here, so get used to it.” Victoria winked at me.
“I personally like the saying: ‘time heals all wounds,’ ” I said. “Just be her friend.”
“I’ll always be her friend,” Alana said.
“I’m sure that’s all she wants,” I said.
“You’re right. Thanks for the advice!” Alana said.
“You’re welcome,” Victoria said. “Thank you for calling in.”
A few moments later, Alana slipped back in the room and took her seat. First, I narrowed my eyes at her, but then I mouthed thank you and she smiled.
The red light blinked again and I jumped a little. Some static came over my headset, which I was learning meant the call had been put through to us.
“You’re on Not My Problem,” Victoria said. “What can we help you with today?”
“This is like an advice podcast?” a woman’s voice asked.
“Yes, it is,” Victoria replied.
“Advice from high school students?”
“Yes,” Victoria said. I wasn’t sure how she could keep a smile on her face when the cynicism in the caller’s voice was so obvious.
“What qualifies you to give advice?” the woman asked.
“Absolutely nothing,” I said.
Victoria gave her practiced laugh. I wondered if it really was practiced. Had she rehearsed a routine in the bathroom mirror the night before like I had? “We don’t claim to be experts,” she said after her laugh. “Just hoping to offer objective opinions and open up discussion.”
“Good luck with that,” the woman said, and hung up.
And that was it. No more calls came in. We waited out the hour of allotted time for lab and Ms. Lyon powered down the equipment. I left the recording booth feeling weak with relief that it was over. For now.
“Okay,” Ms. Lyon said when Victoria and I joined the rest of the group on the other side of the glass. “In tomorrow’s lab, the editing team will get this cleaned up. We’re going to list this podcast as an intro instead of an episode. I don’t think we’ll be able to get more than fifteen minutes out of it. Then in class, we’ll brainstorm some ways to get more people calling in. Hopefully, once people hear the first podcast, they’ll get the idea.” And as if I didn’t already suspect the whole thing had been a train wreck, she confirmed my fear by adding, “It’s fine. It wasn’t that bad.”