[Charlee Faraday walks with me through the city she is currently living in and trying to raise back up (from the dead, so to speak). Her role is small but important, a local radio newscaster, talk show host, and DJ.]
I don’t know why you’re deciding to interview me, since I’ve heard your history of speaking with countless important figures and world leaders. But I’ll talk, if that’s what you’d like.
Before, I was a college student up in Fredericksburg. A couple friends and I had a little radio show that talked about shit that’s happened in our lives and on campus. We used the show to gain experience working with the equipment and maybe even fuel a latent desire in all of us to have our names known.
When the Great Panic started, we continued to provide coverage, and that got us into some trouble. Authorities don’t really like it if a handful of college students are inciting even more unrest than is already going on. But our listeners loved it, needed it. We were the main source of unadulterated apocalypse chatter. Where on campus was safe? Where was dangerous? Where had already been looted ten times over? We’d even get some names of people who checked in with us and broadcast them over the radio in case any of their loved ones were listening for some home.
Here, I carry around this little promo picture of our radio show group.
What happened to the others?
We… went different ways, both literally and figuratively. Our sponsor, Professor James, didn’t really support us once the Panic hit. He was more worried about himself than our show, which I get. He bolted the first chance he got. Haven’t heard from him since.
Cypherpunk and Alex both stuck around and helped me with tech stuff, and boy did they get crafty once we had to go underground.
Yeah, we were, for some reason, being targeted for spreading awareness. All we wanted was for others to be safe and to have a way of hearing the latest while also getting help about how to stay alive! But anyways, Alex and Cypherpunk connected calls and did all the techy things I was incompetent to do at the time. Naturally, I began to learn just by watching them. By the time Alex disappeared, I was able to do most of what he could before, maybe even better. Before you ask, yes I said he disappeared. I do not think he ran away, he’s too much of a chicken to have left us.
I say that playfully, our group would always make fun of each other like that. So when we had no clue what became of Alex, it was just Cypherpunk and I left and by then things in the world were getting a little too tense for us to keep up our funny shenanigans on the radio. We resorted to taking callers until service was dried up, then we would host people, give them a safe space to stay in exchange for being on the radio. A good amount of people wanted to stay, and our bunker was big enough that we let them, as long as they didn’t negatively interfere with our show.
At the first sign of someone being disruptive to other bunker-mates, we’d give them a warning. Second sign they were kicked out. That was tough, actually pushing people out of our bunker. With the first couple people, we felt so bad we let them back in. But there were some bad apples that were rotten enough that we knew it was for the best to kick them out. As you no doubt already know, the ability to broadcast on the radio got harder and harder. Eventually we didn’t even know if anyone was listening. We’d resorted to just talking about the end of days and how life in that dirty bunker was going. Some days we were loony enough to just start telling stories of Before. Finally, we had to disband because…
[Charlee trails off and then abruptly changes topic]
I like to think we saved some people’s lives. And you’d think that post-apocalypse my technology skills would have come up to nothing like all those Hollywood stars ripped down from their high horses, but I’ve made a life for myself. I work the radio communications for Chesapeake and the surrounding area, giving a healthy mix of news reports, music, and random commentary. I try to keep things light, optimistic, but still truthful. We have all been through the horrors of war. Even if those horrors are different for everyone, we are all impacted. Why should I continue making the worst out of that whole mess? I keep things light on my show, because as everyone now knows, too many heavy things will drag you down farther than where any zombie’s nails could dig.
I chose World War Z since it is the book I read for this class. I decided to use my character for the semester as the final speaker of the book only when I was thinking of a name to use and Charlee Faraday was the only one coming to mind. I have always thought that small examples explain bigger ideas better than ambiguous, abstract, or just plain large examples. So, because the ending of the actual book was sort of big and militaristic, I wanted it to be small and human by focusing on a single, mostly insignificant person.