This Is Not A Fanfic
Friday, August 15, 2008

Well, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't.


The first time I ever picked up a socket wrench, I knew I had something special. It just felt right, like a part of my hand I never knew I had.

Pa was a little disappointed that he got a girl instead of a boy, but that didn't stop him from carting me along to every job he got –– though there were few enough. My Pa is a genius. He can fix anything: carpentry, engineering, mechanics, they all come natural to him. He says I've got natural talent, too, but believe me, compared to him I can't do squat. Someday, maybe, I'll be as good as him, but I'm still young.

This isn't a fanfic. This is my story, my real, true-to-life story, though the names have been changed.

I'm from the South –– that's where the accent comes from. All of us here at WSRY have it –– except for Doc and Sarah, of course; they’re from fancy big cities far away from here.

Boss doesn't really understand the ins and outs of the machines, but he knows enough to stay out of my engine room. Most of the time, that is. I've learned to keep my explanations as simple as possible for him. Any time of day or night, I can be called to work when I'm needed. Boss knows he can depend on me, and I never want to let him down. I can be a mite messy when I’m working, I’ll admit, but how’m I s’posed to get anything done if I can’t see it all?

The engine room –– where the transmitter and wires and doohickeys are -- is my home. I feel more comfortable there than any other place I've ever been; even got a cot in the back, believe it or not, the engine has soothed me to sleep a time or two. She is the heart of this place, and I treat her just like I would any other crew member. We have our language, the engine and I; I know how crazy that sounds, but it's the God's-honest truth. She's startin' to show her age, but she runs better when she gets a word or two of encouragement.

There's a rhythm to what I do. My hands, I’ve been told, move lightning fast when I’m working on machines; they seem to know exactly where to go, what to tweak, what dials to turn and what parts need replacing –– even though there's rarely money to replace anything. Repairs are mostly two parts faith and three parts duct tape.

Boss bought WSRY, a tiny failing radio station, many years ago. Back then it was just him and his partner, Zelda. Zelda is a very mysterious woman. She fought her way to the top of the FBI in her twenties; by the time she was my age she had made her mark and was respected (and feared) by every man in Washington. To tell you the truth, I'm a little scared of her myself. She has some great stories about her past, but she's mighty tight-lipped if you get too curious about it.

Boss and Zelda still run most of the major operations. I came on board quite by accident a few years ago. I had a date with one of the engineers –– a real slick one, he was, though not too big on brains –– and he thought he'd show off by taking me to see where he worked. I had taken apart small radios and car engines to see how they worked, but I had never seen such big intricate machines up close before! I was impressed, but not by my date, that's for sure! I met Zelda first, then Boss that same day, who was just as eager to get rid of my would-be beau as I was. I couldn't believe it when he asked me to work for him! I had to hold it in until I got clear of the building, then I screamed and jumped up and down like a kid on Christmas day.

I was sad to leave my hometown behind, but my family was real happy for me and insisted I go. For a good-luck present they all chipped in and got me a fancy statue with the words “Go for your dreams. God will be with you” painted on the front. I keep it next to the front door of my room, so it’s the very first thing I see when I wake up.

In my spare time I like to draw, though I know I'm not too terribly good. This place was kinda stark when I first arrived, being staffed with all menfolk like it was –– not that I don't count Zelda as female, she's just not interested in feminine stuff, I guess –– so I tried to spruce the place up with a bit of paint. There's a few flowers painted in the dining area, and a cute picture of a doggie in the back room. No one's ever mentioned it, so I guess it don't bother 'em too bad. I just needed some color, that's all.

Spending as much time in oil and grease and dirt as I do, I'm not usually too feminine myself, at least not around here. Once, if memory serves it was right about the same time Doc joined our crew, I gussied up in pink and set my hair up fine like those ladies in the magazines. Boss laughed so hard I thought he'd hurt himself. He asked me how I was s'posed to run the engine trussed up like a pig at a county fair. I ran off before he could see me cry. He apologized later and said he was just caught off his guard. He's really a sweetie underneath that gruff demeanor, no matter how tough he appears. Anyhow, I ain't done nothin' like that since. I prefer my overalls anyway. My one luxury is the red henna in my hair –– shh! You are sworn to secrecy about that! I do feel awful grimy next to Sarah, though.

Sarah used to work at one of the REAL stations, in the big city. Nobody really knows why she left, what with all the prestige and money she made there. She's always dressed up, no matter what she's doing. Her home is always clean and polished and smells nice. (I wonder if she wears those fancy clothes to scrub the toilet?) She is a very private person, though, and not everybody is allowed in her space. She gives me outfits sometimes that she's "worn too often to be seen in again", but I honestly have no clue where I would ever wear them. I consider myself privileged to be her friend.

Doc is, well, Doc. It's tough to explain him. He's a medical student, one of the top in his class. He interns here at night, he says, because it's quiet enough for him to study, and because his daddy asked him to.

Oh, did I mention that Boss is Doc's daddy? Sorry, I meant to say it before. Apparently Boss moved up North a long time ago and married a real lady, but she left him for some reason or other. (Zelda knows why, but she ain't talking.) Doc is their youngest son.

We have fun together, Doc and I, being close to the same age and all, though he always seems to say the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time. We don't really have much in common, background-wise, but we seem to click, somehow. Sometimes I think he might be sweet on me; other times I wonder if I'm just imagining things.

Me and Doc are just about the youngest people at WSRY, except for Lil Bit. She's the newest "recruit"; she used to hang around and watch us from doorways when she was younger –– kinda creepy, that was –– but now she's a full-blown member of the crew, having applied for (and gotten) a job the second she hit her eighteenth birthday. She's still a very odd duck, but I love her to death. We can talk for hours about just anything. She's got the best sense of humor of anyone I've ever met, ‘cept for T.

T, who works at the opposite end of the building from me, is the official WSRY “class clown”. It seems like he’s never serious about anything except his job – he’s our main operator, talented as hell but stays with us ‘cause “we’re fun”, he says. He has toys spread out all over his console, and I've caught him playing with them on more than one occasion. He can impersonate nearly any celebrity you can name. He always makes me laugh.

Then there's Kay. What can I say about Kay? Sometimes I wanna slap him, other times I wanna give him a good kick in the pants. He's got a terrible temper, he’s always fiddlin' around with his tools, and he's always in the last place you expect him, croppin' up where he ain’t wanted. He thinks he's fearsome, but he don't scare me none. I do worry that he'll hurt somebody on accident someday, though. Boss and Zelda are the only ones who can keep him in check.

Kay's best friend Martin, who works part-time here on weekends, is a preacher, though not like any I've ever seen. He is always calm and composed, almost stone cold sometimes, but he is constantly sneaking off with no explanation to anyone. He doesn't know this, but last year I found out what his big secret is. He's really a wrestling announcer in his spare time. He goes by a different name, but it's definitely him, or else his identical twin brother. Quiet, serene, educated Martin hollers and fusses on a stage like a wild man every single week! Who woulda thought?

That's me, and that's my crew –– my family, really. This story is absolutely true, except for everybody’s names (and the name of the station), because I didn't ask them if I could write about them. A station guest told me that we reminded her of her favorite TV show, and gave me some DVDs of it, and it amazed me how close the similarities are. Someday maybe I’ll tell the rest of the crew that they have doppelgangers. Any questions you have for me, or for any of us, I'll be happy to pass along, and put in another chapter.


Friday, August 15, 2008 6:59 PM


It is one really strange coincidence...or is it? Welcome to the world of browncoats.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 2:25 AM


This would make a very interesting alternate universe reality show. Thanks for sharing this glimpse of your life with us and enjoy those special people you work with.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 10:31 AM


Don't believe in coincidences and the parallels are too close to not be meant for our favourite crew though I can't for the life of me think why you don't write about our favourite crew. Perhaps you will now feel confident to do just that (hint, hint). Ali D :~0
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 9:38 PM


Thanks for the kind comments, all -- you've inspired me to write a bit more. Take a look at my FlyLog and TINAF: "Moonlighting". If I can I'll write a little bit more about each crew member.


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This Is Not A Fanfic: This Is A Nightmare
And five questions at the bottom that really need answering.

This Is Not A Fanfic: "Major Spoilers"
Everyone has a bad day once in a while. This may spoil yours.

This Is Not A Fanfic: Mr. Musclehead Is Such A Wimp
Kay "helps" me with a problem. Notice who runs first.

My Name is FETCH [updated]
In which our unnamed heroine meets a mysterious young girl.

This Is Not A Fanfic: "Moonlighting"
Sarah has a secret...

This Is Not A Fanfic
Well, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't.

My Name Is FETCH
In which a young girl named Inara Serra meets our unnamed heroine.

My Name Is GUARD
In which a few "familiar" faces appear to our unnamed heroine.

My Name is SLAVE
In which our unnamed heroine settles into a harsh life at House Madrassa.

It was her own name, and nobody else's. No one would take that from her. No one.