The Code Reader

[Ah what the heck — going back to The Daily Post for today’s inspiration]

Double-J held the thin white wires ending in bulky knobs up to Butch. “Check it out.”

Butch looked down at the objects in horror, as if he were pulling a cake out of an oven only to find a live rat. “Oh! I — no thank you.”

Double-J shook his head dismissively. “It’s just music. Won’t hurt you, can’t make you do anything you don’t already want.”

“Oh! It’s not the music.” Butch was a notorious liar, so Double-J knew he was speaking the truth. The teen’s rotund face was paler than usual as the looked down at the objects like they were thin white serpents.  “It’s those — things. I’ve never used them.”

Double-J closed his fist as if to hide the earphones. “Lemme guess — Satan uses these to send you subliminal messages.”

“I’m not an idiot.” The hurt in Butch’s voice was entirely unexpected. “I just don’t think they’re safe. I mean, they tell you no ”

“Ah.” Releasing his grip on the twin wires, Double-J reached down with his other hand, repeatedly pressed a button on the device attached at the other end. “Tell you what, just lay them on your shoulders. I’ll turn the volume up, so you can hear.”

“Oh!” Butch tentatively took the wires into his hands, placed them on his shoulders carefully, like he was putting on a delicate shirt. “They still work like that?”

Double-J replied with the most reassuring smile he could muster. “Technology is amazing.” He pressed another button on his device, and the smooth sound of jazz launched into the air. Double-J had chosen an a cappella arrangement, figuring even the most harmless of lyrics could easily disrupt the younger teen’s cultural equilibrium.

Butch screwed his face in confusion. And a moment later, his eyes grew wide. “Oh! It’s code!”

“Huh?” Double-J fought the urge to snatch the earphones away.

“The music, it’s a message, written in code. The musician, he’s trying to say something, but he doesn’t want to use words, so he puts his message in, in — ” he snapped his fat fingers — “the sounds of the music.”


“Yeah!” Butch grabbed the ends of the wires, held them up to his ears. “There’s a message in here, I know it. I just — don’t know what it means.” He offered the wires back to Double-J. “Do you?”

Taking the earphones from Butch, Double-J shrugged. “Think it means you need to listen to more music.”

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