The next day.
Zhang Ye squeezed in the subway to get to work. He heard two men, who had just got on the train, speaking nearby. The topic of conversation made Zhang Ye’s ears perk up.
“Old Zhao, did you listen to ‘Late-night Ghost Stories’ last night?”
“Of course, I did. I listen to that program every night without fail. Eh, I thought you didn’t listen to the radio?”
“I don’t listen to it, but my wife does. Yesterday, she forcefully made me accompany her and had me listen to the program. You should know my wife, right? She has so much courage. If she sees a gangster late at night on the street, just her voice will scare the gangster away. She listens to ghost stories just so she can sleep. She had never felt so afraid before. And strangely, yesterday, they had broadcast a new ‘Ghost Blows Out the Light’, which scared her so much that she woke me up. I told her not to listen to it if it’s so scary and just switch it off, but she refused and was adamant about tuning in.”
“Haha, yesterday’s ‘Ghost Blows Out the Light’ was awesome. Although I was not fear-stricken, I did find it creepy deep down inside and could not sleep well. It was very good.”
“I also accompanied my wife and listened till 1 A.M. It was indeed good.”
“I will carry on tuning in today. I really want to know what happens in the tomb later.”
“That host is a rookie, right? His name is Zhang Ye? I find his narration very good. His speed was very appropriate, as the host from before spoke too slowly.
As the two people continued to chat, they did not know that the Zhang Ye they were discussing was just a few meters away from them.
Zhang Ye felt good hearing that. This feeling was so good. Opening his game screen to look at his Reputation, it was now at 10,677.
Having bought the second ‘lottery’ ticket yesterday, his Reputation had been depleted all the way down to zero. His Reputation had grown by more than 10,000 in a night. One had to know that ever since Zhang Ye was born, he had only managed to gain 200,000 Reputation in his more than 20 years of living. Now, with just a night’s time, he had nearly matched what he had previously gained in a year. This speed was indeed very fast. There was indeed no mistake in choosing a radio station as his first step towards becoming famous. Besides, his Reputation would slowly increase. It would increase by one or two sporadically. It was the standard practice that every episode of “Late-night Ghost Stories” would be edited by specialized staff before they placed the recording on the radio station’s website. Clearly, the gradual increase in Reputation was from people who did not listen to the live broadcast the previous night and were instead from people who listened to the sound bite on the website and gave Reputation points to Zhang Ye if they found it good.
Getting off the subway and onto the platform.
Zhang Ye first went to a roadside store to buy cigarettes. His addiction was not too bad, as he would smoke two sticks whenever he encountered a good situation.
“What cigarettes do you want?” the boss asked.
Still Red River? This was the cigarette brand that Zhang Ye usually smoked. However, realizing that he was now at least a celebrity, smoking a 6 CNY cigarette did not match his status as a successful radio host and a would-be famous world celebrity. Smoking a 6 CNY cigarette would be too embarrassing. A celebrity had to appear like a celebrity. They had to display their financial ability and their social image at every moment.
As such, Zhang Ye waved his hand, “Give me a pack of Double Red Joy!”
…Alright, this pack is 6.50 CNY.
Reaching the office.
There were many colleagues who had dark circles under their eyes, as they had worked overtime until very late yesterday.
Zhang Ye entered and was already accustomed to being ignored by everyone. He was preparing to take his seat to begin working. Now that he had his own program, it could be considered a promotion, so he naturally had a lot more things to do.
“Little Zhang, you’ve come?”
“Good morning, Teacher Zhang.”
“I heard the program. It was awesome.”
“Right, I could not come back yesterday, as I had something going on. I also listened back at home. I heard that it is an original work of yours? And without a script? Speaking whatever you thought on the spot? Amazing!”
“No ordinary person can go on a live broadcast without a script.”
“Teacher Zhang is from a specialized major, so this is nothing.”
A few colleagues smiled and greeted Zhang Ye. Their attitude was very friendly.
Zhang Ye did not make a timely reaction. Teacher Zhang? What Teacher Zhang? Are they…calling me that? Realizing this, Zhang Ye quickly turned humble, “Teacher Qian, Teacher Wu, Brother Wu, please don’t call me teacher. I’m still new and am just a student. I still need to learn a lot from all you seniors. Just calling me Little Zhang would do.” As a person working in the media industry and someone facing the public, “Teacher” was a form of “salutation”. It was not too much, but Zhang Ye knew his boundaries. With his present qualifications, other people may respect him by calling him teacher, but he could not accept it.
By exchanging pleasantries, this was the first time Zhang Ye actually had a deep exchange with his colleagues.
The reason was clear. Previously, people ignored Zhang Ye because he was just a stand-in DJ. He did not have the looks, so no one thought he could make it big; hence, no one bothered to build a relationship with him. But now, things were different. Tian Bin had made a mistake and Zhang Ye had saved the situation at the last minute, preventing a broadcast incident. His story was also very good and he was temporarily made the host of the program. He had went from being a substitute to a main host, so the attitude of his colleagues naturally had a subtle change.
Was this how the world worked?
The way humans reacted was normal, so Zhang Ye did not make a fuss about it.
Of course, there were still many in the office who pretended Zhang Ye did not exist. This was in the character of some of them, while there were others whose work had nothing to do with Zhang Ye. Although everyone shared an office, they all had different responsibilities. A portion of them even had good relations with Tian Bin.
Behind him, a female clerk walked over with a cardboard box in her hands. Inside, there were stacks of bound letters. After passing some letters to a few program hosts, she came by to the corner and was about to put the letters on Tian Bin’s table through habit, but after thinking it over and seeing that Tian Bin was not around, she glanced at Zhang Ye and passed them to him. “Teacher Zhang, these are letters from the listeners of ‘Late-night Ghost Stories’. Some of the letters are for Teacher Tian. As the postal service was slow, some of them were received only today. Some of them are yours. They were mailed out by the listeners early this morning.”
Zhang Ye said, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” The female clerk walked away.
Zhang Ye breathed in as he opened the letters. It was like the experience of a newly-wedded bride.
The first letter was written by a child. His words were crooked and very innocent, “Hello, Teacher Zhang. The story you narrated is so good. My mother had wanted me to go to sleep early and even beat me up, but I still did not switch off the radio and listened to it secretly under the blanket. I will listen to ‘Ghost Blows Out the Light’ from now on, daily!”
Zhang Ye smiled and, with some thought, he picked a pen and wrote, “I am Zhang Ye. Thank you for your letter. You should sleep early and listen to your mother. Don’t stay up late at night. ‘Late-night Ghost Stories’ is uploaded on the Literature Channel’s website, so you can listen to the broadcast online.” After he finished writing, he found the female clerk and received her help in sending his response to the young listener, according to the sender’s address. After returning to his seat, he carried on reading his letters.
Second letter: “Today’s story is better than all the trash ghost stories from before by 10,000 times. This is the supernatural novel that resides in my heart!”
Third letter: “I am a taxi driver who works the night shift. ‘Ghost Blows Out the Light’ is an awesome story. I will continue supporting it!”
Fourth letter: “This is the best supernatural novel I have ever heard! I just want to say thank you to the program team! Thank you, Teacher Zhang! I finally do not find the nights boring!”
There were more than ten letters and Zhang Ye read each and every one of them. He picked out three letters to respond to.
He then switched on his computer, so that he could read the letters in his e-mail inbox. Ever since taking over “Late-night Ghost Stories”, someone had given him the password to the program’s inbox. After logging in, he realized that there were more than 80 unread e-mails. This mail was not written as formally as the hand-written letters he had received. There was more online slang.
Liuliu59: “’Ghost Blows Out the Light’ is too cool!”
Edhska115: “Great, Great, Great, Great!”
Qqqry: “Teacher Zhang, say a bit more each day. I strongly request for the program to be extended. I have already recommended ‘Ghost Blows Out the Light’ to many of my classmates and friends. I will be calling all of them up at night to ask them to tune in. Hehe, I’ll give you a ‘like’ and be your fan in the future!”
So many good comments?
Zhang Ye found it to be extremely beautiful!
Look at this. Look at this. This is the voice of the people!