Mentee Name: Rebecca J. Lacko
Title: RADIO HEAD
Category: Contemporary Adult
Genre: Musical Fiction
Word Count: 90,000
Shelby Rey can hear what rock star Zac Wyatt can’t—his next album. All she has to do is touch him.
With my headphones on, I can find a quieter place. The radio’s random broadcast courses through my veins, matching my inner anthem, replicating my DNA. My cells divide, replacing the dead and damaged with a new song.
The Westbound bus going under the freeway and into Laguna Beach is a good long ride. I should be able to do the route three full loops by the time Mom goes to her night shift.
The sidewalk from our apartment complex to the closest bus stop borders a derelict L-shaped shopping center with a twenty-four-hour liquor store, a nail salon, and two vacant spaces hosting squatters for weeks at a time before the police notice. I call this sidewalk, “Hyper-Vigil,” which sounds kind of cool, except for why I have to be vigilant. Between the sidewalk and the center’s parking lot is a dwarf palm with an ever-growing family of rats living in its dead, paper-bag brown fronds, and a short row of neglected boxwood that random guys from the liquor store and the squatters piss in.
When the Westbound pulls up I take a seat furthest from the driver and look out the window at the early morning traffic rushing to change lanes, away from the inconvenience of the idling bus.
I thumb the dial ever so slowly and close my eyes, casting for far away sounds. Rolling the tuner back and forth, dusting the last few specks off a station that plays music without words, by people with extraordinary, outlandish names like Chaikovskee, and High Den, and Vogner. Their music fills me more than I can bear, like when I think about what happened to Dad.