Bob hadn’t imagined in his wildest dreams that he’d sleep in Cathy’s bed, drink her mom’s iced tea and get change for his bus ride home. It was almost as if he got married.
Analog Mom wasn’t amused. But she didn’t say anything.
Together, they rode out to the outskirts of town, to Grandma Moon’s house.
Grandma Moon was as old and tough as oak. Legend has it her voice could travel across Wolfcrow, and could hang in the air for hours, if it had to.
She was Wolfcrow’s oldest Analog Sound Mixer. When she delivered a mix, it stayed delivered.
Now she stayed alone in her home, in a quiet farm, the original home of audio.
“You’re late.” She said, rocking in her chair out on the front porch. It creaked like nails on a blackboard.
In fact, everything in the house creaked. It was an acoustic creak-box, with surround creak and sub-woofer creaks, in every frequency you can imagine.
“He looks pale, Rachel. Aren’t you feeding him anything?”
“I’m fine, Grandma Moon.”
Mother and daughter exchanged looks.
“You’ll be okay, Bob. See you in a few days.” Mom left. She also left with the conversation starters that Bob and his granny needed.
He waited. She rocked.
“What’s her name?”
When the question came it took the strength from his legs. “What girl?” Oops. Wrong counter-question.
“She’s a Digital, isn’s she? Is she Sampler’s niece?”
How did the old hag know about that? “Yes.”
“First Sampler, then Glass, now me. Interesting.”
Bob hadn’t realized it, but everything had gone silent, even the crickets outside.
“It’s so quiet suddenly. No audio at all.”
“Sound. No ‘sound’ at all. Audio is an electric signal representing sound.”
“Let me put it this way, kid. If you don’t learn about audio, you’ll never get Cathy Digital.”
“And you’re going to teach me, right?”
“I’m going to talk. Whether or not you’ll learn depends on how well you’ll listen.”
The rocking began again.