Another night of tapings meant an afternoon of tag team practice beforehand. Avi’s mannerisms as The Hunter improved by leaps and bounds than the weeks prior, although he still preferred that Mitch handle the bulk of the talking when they filmed their promos. But at least the banter came far more naturally now, with elements of slapstick tossed in for good measure. Once they wrapped up their segments and Jodie reviewed the footage, she gave the OK for them to skedaddle until the belltime.
As they passed by the announce table, Rod declared “Ah, there he is.” Next to him stood Ingrid, who stopped talking and stared at them.
“Me? Or Avi?” Mitch half-laughed and hitched a thumb at himself, then towards Avi. “Or me?” he repeated, and Rod gave a single nod while holding a hand over his mouth to cover any evidence of amusement. Score. Mitch noted smugly that he got a good grade in popping Rod.
“Rod said you used to be a radio host.” Ingrid muscled her way past Rod and crowded into Mitch’s bubble, forcing him to take a step back. He hadn’t anticipated an interrogation.
“You were a radio host?” Avi asked with a little gasp.
“College radio,” Mitch clarified to the three of them. “Not the same thing as radio radio. But yes, for a few years. Why?”
“Do you have any demo reels from back then?” She folded her arms across her chest, and Mitch shrunk under scrutiny. If anyone perceived Rod’s stoicism to be intimidating, they’d never dealt with his ex wife’s intensity.
“Oh god, somewhere I’m sure,” he groaned, then scratched the back of his head as he tried to make sense of whatever he’d been dragged into. “Wait, why?”
“Any interest in doing it again?” she asked, then before Mitch could answer, added, “On an extremely part time basis? For not a whole lot of money?”
“Possibly?” He shot Rod a helpless glance, then looked back at Ingrid. “What’s the job, exactly?”
“You haven’t told him what the job is, Ingrid,” Rod pointed out and she sharply inhaled, the tell-tale sign of a practiced gesture when dealing with an obnoxious co-worker and former spouse.
“The job-” she breathed out, pausing to glare at Rod, who shrugged in return. “So there’s a new slot opening up on Sunday nights at my station. Finally dropping that fucking Jesus talk show since the host is retiring at looong last. The guy may as well have been present during the actual crucifixion, he’s that old.”
“Oh, I’m not interested in covering god stuff,” Mitch shook his head.
“No shit, ya heathen.” She burst out laughing, and slapped him on the back. “I got the greenlight from my boss to produce something more local. Indie. Weird. Not Dr. Demento weird, but good weird. Old school, like a high school mixtape. We’re trying to appeal to Gen Xer’s and older millenials, and you fit that bill, my man.”
Mixtape lit up every dopamine receptor in Mitch’s brain. He blinked furiously, unsure if this was a prank. “You’re serious?” He asked for clarity, needing it. In his disbelief, he barely registered that Avi’s hand landed on his shoulder. Tilting his head, he met Avi’s eyes, and could have sworn they were actually sparkling. Dweeb, he thought. Face now flushed, Mitch turned back to Ingrid.
“Yeah man. I mean, it’s a 3 hour block, starting around 7 at night. And it’s public radio, so the pay is dogshit. But I’d rather get someone that I know would be cool on board than trying to find someone and like…trying to build a rapport, worrying about if I’m gonna gel with them, etc etc.” Pointing at her open mouth, Ingrid gagged.
“Ho-hold on, you think I’m cool?” Mitch sputtered.
“I’ve been telling him this,” Avi cut in, and Mitch lightly cuffed his arm in embarrassment.
“You’re the only rock star we got here.” She motioned around the room. “So yeah. You’ll still need to be interviewed and we need the demo reel, so make that happen. But like, c’mon man. What are you even up to on Sunday nights? Say yes. Do it for me.”
Mitch looked from Ingrid’s pleading face and clasped hands to Rod’s indifference and then finally to Avi, who was outwardly brimming with so much enthusiasm that it may as well have been him that’d been offered the position. “OK,” he surrendered and shrank at the joyous reception to his answer. They hashed out some more details, in which Ingrid admitted she needed a little time to pitch him as a candidate to her boss, and Mitch admitted that he probably needed to make a reel from scratch. Since band practice was in a few days, he could use some of Darius’ recording equipment to produce a suitable demo.
Ingrid and Rod went their separate ways, and though Mitch tried to maintain his composure, Avi rejoiced on his behalf. Guilt gnawed while he continued to indulge in the high praise.
“What’s going on over here?” Nate’s voice came from behind them, already in his gear for the tapings. He didn’t have a match, but presumably he’d be doing stuff with Coven.
“Mitch might have landed his dream gig,” Avi answered.
“And that is?” Raising an eyebrow, Nate looked at Mitch.
“It’s…it’s not quite like that.” Mitch quietly explained what Ingrid’s offer entailed. He realized that he never shared this part of his past with Nate, despite knowing one another for at least three years. His face burned as he spoke but he was unsure why.
Then it dawned that Avi’s hand never left his arm, which he only noticed when Nate’s eyes flicked to it, and his insides vibrated uncomfortably.
“That’s great,” Nate grinned and reached down to ruffle Mitch’s hair, showcasing a bit more affection than usual within the school’s walls. His shoulder became lighter, and he didn’t need to look to see that Avi no longer held onto it. “Tell me all about it later?”
“Yeah, later,” Mitch agreed, and watched Nate walk out of sight before he exhaled and dropped his shoulders, only becoming aware of how he tensed up after it bled out of his system.