dead receiver

from by Lily Schaffer



An aging, nihilistic Superman questions his self-worth in old Vegas.

short short story follows the lyrics. it's a copy/paste from the day it was written; I take no responsibility for bad songs written more than four years ago.


there’s a fly on the wall
a phone jack and a dead receiver
you can try and please them all
you can never fool a true believer

you know there’ll be damage
even if you pick up the phone
there’s no firm advantage
in leaving well enough alone

there’s a bus stuck on the bridge
traffic’s backed up and it’s neverending
you can try and save the kids
there was never any harm in pretending

that there won’t be damage
even if you see it a mile away
there’s no firm advantage
in taking the detour, they say

dispatch calls from the ground
10/4 and we’ve got a jumper
you can try and talk her down
but she’s never getting any younger

you know there’ll be damage
even if they bring out the trampoline
there’s no firm advantage
in meeting the police at the scene


from dead receiver, released July 30, 2013
Superman is in his late forties. He has since quit being a superhero, and he is living in a run down motel in old Vegas. Dealing with aging and the inevitability of certain pain and suffering has left Superman somewhat nihilistic. Despite this, at times, he can not seem to fight the urge to save people and/or do good deeds. He questions his own motives and finds that even doing good and staving off harm, like most things, is an addiction. He is trying to quit. He realizes that although his efforts are valiant and certainly benefit those he directly helps, that in the long run, his work is mostly pointless and leaves the world unaffected. He has taken to unplugging his phone. One night, while driving around aimlessly, he managed to tweak his car radio so that he could receive transmissions from the police dispatch. He has since disassembled and reassembled it five times.

This song is a day in the life of our anti-hero-hero. He finds himself stuck in traffic while a schoolbus full of children teeters on the end of a broken bridge that passes over a ravine. He receives information (over the police dispatch) that an aging Hollywood starlet is standing on the roof of the Four Queens casino threatening to jump. He ends up saving the distressed, but each time he does, he is less and less sure about his purpose, entirely.


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