Censor the Senseless - (Tulane University, New Orleans)

The booth was tiny, it’s charcoal grey foam walls seeming to close in upon her. The ominous shadow in the space was further emphasized by the single lamp she used to light the small audio mixer and recording equipment.

The girl who perched before the microphone was thin, petite of stature. If she were ever seen without the bulky leather jacket, Doc Martens boots, and a well practiced ‘resting bitch face,’ Katherine Bight would actually seem quite fragile. “And our closing note,” she read the copy from her iphone screen, “is all about the penis…who’s got one, and who doesn’t. This week, our darling Dean Mitchell proved once again that if you wanna make it in the ‘Good Old Boys’ club that is Tulane’s Faculty Culture, havin’ a vaj will keep you right out of department leadership.”

A digital VU meter flashed and ticked the peaks and valleys of her voice as the campus radio news correspondent’s report was delivered in her accusatory style.

“Dr. Camille Hayes, our most tenured and published prof in the Psych Department, was passed over for the chair in favor of Dr.Phillip Hoffman, ten years her junior. Of course, when we all knew Dr. Hayes as “David,” he was a shoe-in for the top slot when old Dr. Adler stroked out. All it took was coming out as “she” and getting that little piece of meat snipped off to put her career on eternal hold. Are we surprised? You can find my full expose’ on the Hullabaloo site, and tomorrow in print. I’ll be back this afternoon. Til then, for WTUL News, this is Catbite, reminding you to keep your eyes and ears open.”

She stopped the recording, and after a moment’s review of the finished product, uploaded it to the student radio station’s control room queue. Katherine Bight, third year journalism major, grabbed her shoulder bag and departed the little recording booth.

The sound of Electronic Dance Music filtered down the corridor. Jeff was on the air. True to form, he’d left the studio door open…proof positive that she was about to get an unprompted “peer review.” ”Not tonight,” Kat muttered to herself as she strode briskly toward the radio station’s front office…and blessed escape.

“Hey, Catbite…got a sec?”

Shit… “Just barely,” she checked her phone’s time. “I gotta get to the library before they close, or Ms. Mar’s gonna puree me.”

“I’ll be brief.” Jeff Robichaux looked like a club kid. He used more product in a day than Kat would struggle with in the average month. Perfectly dressed, immaculate and understated when in class or editing the Hullabaloo. His second campus job, managing the air staff at WTUL, kept him in one of the nicest on campus apartments. He’d shown her the living room once, before trying to show her the bedroom. Since then, their working relationship had not been ideal. “We’re not running the Tranny piece tomorrow.”

Her jaw dropped. “What? Why not?”

“Admin’s up my ass. You’ve got the Chaplain pissed, not to mention PR and Personnel,” his voice was emotionless as he delivered one damning title after the next.

She folded her arms. “The Chaplain…is this about Zombie Jesus Day?”

A vague smile crossed his features as he touched the tip of his nose. “Your coverage of the Staff Children’s Easter Egg Hunt was not very flattering.”

Catbite rolled her eyes. “What’s to cover? Kids run around and bend over while an old perv watches?”

“I think,” Jeff’s tone never revealed perturbance, “that once they read the line about ‘children, demonstrating natural greed as they raced to scoop up Jesus droppings,’ the rest of the article’s appeal went downhill from there.” He paused, turning back toward the broadcast console to mix in a second track. “You’re becoming radioactive,” he said over his shoulder.

“But,” she protested, “I’ve already filed the AM newscast for tomorrow. I mention that story.”

“I’ll kick it back to you,” Jeff shrugged. “You can cut it.”

“What do you want me to edit out of the article?”

He lifted a pair of headphones, cupping one earpiece to his head as he cued the next song. “I’m sure you know,” he said dryly. “Any word pertaining to a penis that is not, in fact, ‘penis.’ No dicks, no boners, no schlongs, and especially no swinging man-meat.”

“You forgot ‘Johnson,” she observed.

“I like that. Keep it.”

“If I make the edits,” she said, “will you run the piece?”

The editor pursed his lips, tapping them with an index finger as he swung to and fro in his chair. After a moment clearly intended to convey great thought, he answered the question. “Okay. I need your update by midnight.”

“Great,” Catbite nodded as she leapt to her feet. “Watch your email.”

“You could deliver it in person,” Jeff made another game attempt at seduction.

“Can’t,” the girl said as she bolted from the room. “Everything’s offline…I got a terrible yeast infection.”

(To be continued)

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