Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Tin Can Stereo

            On Monday my stereo was playing loud and clear as I was about to do the dishes with some music in the background. Suddenly the volume dropped and it started sounding like a tin can telephone. I tried reconnecting the speaker wires to the surround sound sockets and actually got both speakers working for the first time in a while, but the same tinny, low volume, monophonic sound persisted in both. When I plugged in the headphones everything sounded fine but I don’t think that means that the problem is with my speakers. On top of that my radio has suddenly stopped working altogether. That’s the one thing that shouldn’t need any connections since it’s inside the machine. It’ll be weird doing yoga without the radio on for the first time in twenty years.
            I watched an Alfred Hitchcock Hour story that co-starred Billy Mumy, the kid that was in that famous Twilight Zone story about the child that viciously controlled a town with his mind. In this story the boy had no powers other than the fact that he couldn’t swim. He was on the beach one day with his mother, Sally, but he went out too far and his mother couldn’t swim either so she wasn’t able to save him. Luckily there was a man swimming further out that came in to save him. The mother was so grateful that she invited him to join her and her husband John at their place for dinner the following night. They learned from him that he was an out of work air force veteran with a dream of having a little orange grove. They were so grateful to him for saving their son’s life that they offered to help him out. He could stay with them while looking for his piece of land and once he found it they would lend him $5000 to get started. Weeks went by but Ray didn’t seem to be looking very hard for his dream farm. He spent most his time either playing with their son or playing with their pretty blonde Norwegian maid, Kira. One day when Ray was borrowing their car they got a call from him saying that he’d had a small accident and that the owner of the other vehicle needed to meet about the insurance. They met on the highway and it turned out that the couple, George and Eve were on vacation and travelling with a trailer home. The five of them went inside the trailer to have a friendly drink while they discussed the insurance. Sally noticed Ray being inappropriately friendly towards George’s wife while they were there. A day or so later they got a call from George telling them that Ray had tried to make time with Eve when he wasn’t home. Susan and John decide to ask Ray to leave but he refuses but says he go for $20,000. They threaten to call the police but Ray threatens to make up a story that will ruin their careers. He says he owes $20,000 to an old sea captain named Faulkner and he wants to square it, so unless they fork up the dough he’s going to stay. He says he’s going for a walk to give them time to think about his demand but shortly after he leaves they hear a gunshot. They go outside and see Ray on top of George with his hands on his throat. John pulls him off and they begin fighting until finally Ray falls back and hits his head. He’s not dead but unconscious. George explained that he’d come with a gun because Ray tried to rape Eve (well, they didn’t use the word “rape”, but rather “attacked” but I don’t think they were allowed to say “rape” on television in 1962). George says that he’ll take Ray to the hospital but later he calls to say that Ray died along the way. John insists that he call the police but George says the police will think that John killed him and besides, this kind of scandal would ruin his career in the civil service. John goes to George’s trailer and finds that he’s already burying Ray. George says for John to go home and he’ll take care of it. Sally and John think it’s all over but one day a letter arrives for Ray from the sea captain. John goes to meet Faulkner and offers to pay him the $20,000 that Ray had owed him. Sally and John once again think it’s all over but then they read in the paper that a highway is going to be built that goes straight through the quarry, which is where Ray is buried. John tracks down George but George doesn’t seem to be worried, which he finds suspicious. Finally he does what he should have done in the first place. He calls the cops. It turns out that Ray, George, Eve and Captain Faulkner are all part of a team of grifters running a very complex scam and that Ray even staged the rescue of their son to get in good with them.


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