The Manchester Review
James Robison
Radio Talkers
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            It does not matter what they say, they never say anything, but they are still here. That summer in St. Louis I worked in the glove factory and the Philco radio stood on a steel shelf before windows with green light.
            The bobber throbbed 6 strikes per second so I’m stitching the glove thumbs in an arc with the web of my splayed hand an inch from the beating needle. Fawn garden gloves. You better not think of anything but the job. You cannot drift to Suzy’s allure or motorcycles.
            Glove one, two, 42, glove 42 hundred. This is the job in St. Louis. Standing up. Weeds green through greasy glass.
            Pepsi machine and I had Kent cigarettes with the white filters. The Philco radio was blond wood with it-looked-like gritted teeth, a fabric square above two knobs, volume and tuner. It was loud.
            Richard Bangs owned the radio, a floor manager, obese, with octopus sucker marks on his face and neck. Gooey hair, wrought by digging a comb through pomade, curving it all back, leaving fine ditches. He tuned always to KMOX and therefore in the morning, with glove work, I got Arthur Godfrey talking, for for Richard there was only Arthur Godfrey.
            Arthur Godfrey said he was The Old Redhead and had it seemed like a stuffed up nose. I shuddered to hear him.
            I tried to be friends with co-workers but why would they talk to me in 1966 with my long hair? Wasn’t I a mad bomber? Hazel worked the thundering Addressograph and was motherly and you’d think she’d say cheerfully, Good morning.