Our cars became the new church. Parked on the side of the road, facing the mountain. We sat there, staring at the peak. Staring a hundred feet above it, at the twinkling red lights. Notebooks and pens at the ready.
On the mountain, suspended a ten stories above atop latices of iron and steel, the repeater arrays blink. A silent glowing chorus we try to find on the AM band. Patterns in the lights our only guide, static our holy text.
No one is quite sure who found it first. How they saw The Pattern. How they knew where to start. But whoever it was they told someone else, and then they told someone else, and so on and so on just as apostles have always done.
Every night, at 10:43pm the lights, meant to scare off low flying aircraft, go solid. All at once. For the next seventy eight seconds they stay that way. Then it starts.
If you are facing them from the east they form a near straight line. Two groups of four. Eight red angels bringing the good word. Some blink on, then off as the others come on, then all at once. Then it repeats. For two minutes. One hundred and twenty seconds to find The Voice.
We read right to left, it doesn’t work the other way.
1070kHz. That’s where we start, right in the middle of the AM band. If both angels are lit you go up 10kHz. If the angel is alone you go down 10kHz. Sixteen little adjustments to the knob, sixteen presses of the button. It always ends on a dead station. Always on the soft hiss of static, noise with no signal. Until it isn’t.
If you followed the instructions, and you do have to follow them, it doesn’t matter if you only have the right station, you had to get there the Right way, the static stops and you Hear.
We all hear something different each time. We all hear something different from each other.
Some people hear what they always wanted to say.
One person heard the what the doctors had missed.
One person heard what pawn shop to find their father’s pocket watch, stolen a decade ago, in.
Sometimes I hear her, again. Telling me that it all worked out.
Sometimes the static just goes away for a moment and sometimes that’s enough.