Ep. 6 - COMM120: Public Relations
The president of the University is not a typical guest. Pandora can only hope she isn't in trouble or, worse, that her secret hasn't been revealed.
[[Theme music "Medusa" plays]]
Pandora: ...and Athena would also like to thank everyone who participated in the Mount Olympus University Olympics last week who “helped make this traditional event so fun. Except for Hermes. Hermes, you know you aren’t allowed to participate in the foot race and you did it anyway so you don’t get a thank you.” That...that’s what this says. I didn’t write this.
Anyway, that’s the last of the announcements from this novel-sized book Athena handed me. In the future we will be putting limits on how much people can ask to be read over the radio.
But that does mark the end of what I guess is the first official episode of the new Mount Olympus University radio. So, if you actually listened, then...thanks. This has sort of been a long time coming, believe it or not. And it’s pretty easy to not listen to the radio, so I appreciate the effort in tuning in while I get the kinks worked out on this thing. I, um...I hope you keep listening. And I hope I can keep not saying embarrassing stuff on air. That will make our relationship pretty perfect.
And, with that, I will see you next week. I’m Pandora Wordsworth, signing o--
Gaia: Oh! My apologies, I thought you had concluded the session.
Pandora: You’re-- Yeah, no, I-I’m done. Bye everyone....Hello.
Gaia: Hello. My, there certainly are a lot of cardboard boxes in here.
Pandora: Yeah, they're all empty.
Gaia: Ah...Then why are they…?
Pandora: No clue. I found the room like this, so…
Gaia: [laugs] I see.
Pandora: ...I haven’t really thought about cleaning it out. [beat] ...You’re President Gaia.
Gaia: Oh, please. Call me ‘Madam President.’
Pandora: Ok...that’s...the same length, but...Madam President.
Gaia: It's a delight to finally meet you, Pandora.
Pandora: Yeah, you...you, too. I mean, I've seen your picture on the posters around campus and stuff, but now you're here. And you're...taller in real life.
Gaia: Pictures are funny that way.
Pandora: Funny. Yeah. A bucket of...laughs… I'm sorry, am...am I in trouble?
Pandora: I mean, you’re here, and you’re a busy woman so I doubt you just wander around aimlessly, which means you’re here with an aim and that makes me think I did something wrong, or… is this about my scholarship? I can explain, probably, if I think about it for a minute--
Pandora: Yes, ma’am?
Gaia: Deep breaths.
Pandora: Oh. See, I prefer lots of small, shallow breaths that let the panic fester until it takes over. That’s really more my jam.
Gaia: Give it a try.
Pandora: [exhales] ...I’m not in trouble.
Gaia: Not at all.
Pandora: Cool. Cool cool. Just so you know, there’s no reason I would be in trouble. I mean, now that I’ve thoroughly incriminated myself, it probably sounds like I’m just trying to back peddle, but, uh...I’m not. My brain was just like “President is here. You're probably expelled cause you were out past ten last night.”
Gaia: There's no curfew here.
Pandora: No, I know that. It, um...it's pretty illogical. I tend to assume the worst.
Gaia: I’ve heard that about you.
Pandora: [awkward laugh] Well...I only started being wrong recently, for what it’s worth. So, um...if this isn't about my lawless, wanton nighttime strolls...what does bring you here, Madam President?
Gaia: I just wanted to come by to congratulate you.
Pandora: ...congratulate me?
Gaia: On your inaugural show with the radio club, of course.
Pandora: Oh! Oh, yeah, I guess that’s...what I just did, huh?
Gaia: You did.
Pandora: Well...thank you. That was really nice of you to come by. Especially for this, y’know. I know it's nothing special, but, ah, it's cool that you stopped by.
Gaia: Now, do you always do that?
Pandora: Do? Do what?
Pandora: Um...I'm just being honest
Gaia: You seem very quick to dismiss your own efforts. It's extremely curious. Particularly in the storied history of Mount Olympus University.
Pandora: What do you mean?
Gaia: Our halls have never been home for those who are average, Miss Wordsworth. Many know that. Indeed, to a large number of our students, MOU is not a privilege. It is, in fact, a right that they feel is owed to them in their pursuit of excellence.
Pandora: That's...pretty grim.
Gaia: It may sound strange, but there is a strength and pride in that, that ties us all together. As the president, I must say that it is, at most, fascinating and, at the least, perplexing how you slough off attempts to praise your entrepreneurship.
Pandora: Oh, god, entrepreneurship is not the right word.
Pandora: [overlapping] Ok, no, I hear that one, that is on me.
It's just-- attention. I don't like it. I'm not good at it. That's why I like this! I don't have to look at anyone while I talk uninterrupted. It's my ideal environment. I'm blossoming before your eyes!
Gaia: I care about your success, Pandora, as I do every student. I don't want to see you sabotage yourself.
Pandora: I'm...not? I'm sorry, I'm confused. Am I in trouble now?
Gaia: No, you--
Pandora: Because you are making a lot of assumptions about me and it’s weird and I don't really care for it.
Gaia: [overlapping] I...of course. Of course it would. I apologize. I did not intend to put that on you. This school has been very important to my life. Much of it built with my own hands. I suppose, after all these years, I am prone to being overly invested. I see the people here as family. The students as my children.
Pandora: ...well, we aren't a family. We’re a school.
Gaia: That is correct. I’m sorry. I've offended you.
Pandora: I’m not offended, I’m...private.
Gaia: And that is your right to be so. I respect that. I hope this does not color our dealings in the future.
Pandora: What? Oh...no, it’s-it’s fine. We’re cool.
Gaia: I’m glad we are...cool. [pause] ...you know, there are not many students who would confront the president of their university over invasive behavior.
Pandora: Well, I think you noticed that I don't exactly fit in around here, Madam President.
Gaia: [laughs] Hm. Maybe not. But you certainly have a lot of heart. Perhaps that is something we have been missing. [clears throat] Before I go, I must confess that I didn’t just come here to say “congratulations.” [laughs] You know, it is really something to watch how quickly your face falls. You’re still not in trouble. In fact, I actually have a gift for you.
[[SFX: Something in paper being handed over]]
Pandora: A gift…?
Gaia: From the school. I’m not in the habit of handing out gifts. That lends itself to favoritism and that is not my method of operation.
[[SFX: Unwrapping paper]]
Pandora: [laughs] “Mount Olympus University Radio: 73.9.” Thank you. That’s very nice-- very official looking.
Gaia: This door hasn’t held a plaque in awhile, so we thought it was about time. There’s another one in there, too. It will go under the first plaque.
Pandora: [[SFX: Unwrapping paper]] Oh, well, I sure hope it’s a “do not enter” sign, cause let me tell you, the last few weeks have been--
Gaia: ...Pandora? Are you all right?
Pandora: It’s, um...it’s my name.
Gaia: It is. It’s not entirely common, but a few of the smaller, more socially active clubs have specialty plaques featuring the head of that particular group. The radio is not a usual club, so we thought we would extend one of our more unusual social mores to show that we hope you will continue working hard.
Pandora: I, um...thank you.
Gaia: Of course. This is your school too, Pandora. I should leave. I’m sure you have classes to prepare for. I think that this show will be very good for Mount Olympus University.
Pandora: Ok, I feel like I’m allowed to dismiss that one. It’s just a radio program, Madam President.
Gaia: I know. It’s just a feeling.
Pandora: ...I’ll keep you updated. [shouting] Ok, Carlos! The President is leaving, please escort her!
Gaia: I didn’t realize Carlos worked with you!
Pandora: Oh, he doesn’t. I just like to yell requests at him like we’re coworkers. He ignores them all, but I sure think it’s hilarious.
[[theme music begins to play]]
Gaia: [laughs] I shall be sure to pass the message on if I see him.
Pandora: Thank you, Madam President.
Gaia: Should I close the door?
Pandora: Nah. Leave it open.
[[Theme song "Medusa" plays]]
Raeanna Nicole Larson: Mount Olympus University is an original story conceived and written by Raeanna Nicole Larson. Sound editing done by the intrepid Luuk Van Hoomissen. Our icon was designed by the incomparable Jess Reed. Music by the industrious Teddy McKrell, whose works can be heard on soundcloud under teddymackerel.
The role of Pandora is played by Raeanna Nicole Larson. President Gaia is played by Ariel Therkiel.
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[["Medusa" fades out]]