The door burst open, and a waft of cold air encompassed the room.
"Wednesday! Seven-thirty! Kathleen Ferrier's on Radio 3!"
Odessa marked the word with her finger, looked up from the book and wondered silently who the hell Kathleen Ferrier was.
"Kathleen Ferrier! The best singer that ever lived!" Orson certified stumbling into the cottage.
The girl pursed her lip, and nodded non the wiser.
"An opera contralto!"
Unimpressed, as she often was, by anything that stirred an interest in the old man, the girl returned to her horror book leaving Orson to stoop excitedly across the room to the clock radio on the bedside table, and press the power button.
A concoction of rap and rock travelled the airwaves, Orson scowled.
"It isn't on Radio 3!" he barked.
Of course it wasn't on Radio 3, only the loud sound of a drumbreat could revive Odessa in the morning.
The wrinkled finger spun on the tuning wheel until distorted words and bombastic music overlapped irritatingly one over the other.
"How the hell do these things work?" Orson growled picking up the cubic device, and shaking it like a piggy bank with a hidden treasure.
He clicked and unclicked the button, and tuned and retuned the station with very little success until, exhausted of patience, began pacing the room up and down, right and left, carrying the cube like a precious golden goose. Even unremitting care though didn't prevent the reception from resembling a couple of eggs being fried in very hot oil on a very high flame in an old fashioned, sturdy, iron pan.
Peeping from under her pomegranate coloured hair, Odessa simpered at the increasingly bewildered old man who shuffled around testing corners, shelves, chairs, and tables without any audible improvements rapidly assuming the nature of a bottle of carbonated water that had been unwittingly shaken to fizzing point.
"Can't hear anything!" the old man thundered getting hold a couple of recently purchased terrines, and drawing the arm back.
Odessa squinted embracing herself for a resonant crash of terracotta against bricks. But it didn't happen.
The eyes, black and crazy, returned into the orbits, and the arm flopped down his right side.
"Get on with the bloody yapping, and play her music!" the man yelled putting the terrines down, and a pair of spectacles on.
"They're all poofters those running Radio 3. All poofters! Years back," Orson went on pulling out a chair. "It was marvellous," he chuckled waving a hand in the air. "It was possible to listen to some descent music. Now it's all commercial," he concluded staring helplessly at the crackling device.
Odessa jumped to her feet rushing to the source of the maddening noise crouching to flick the wire, and tune the channel before Orson had time to stop her with loud shouting, and offensive remarks about the brain power of her gender.
"Get on with it!" he exhorted the presenters plunging back in the chair, and popping a cigarette between his crinckled lips to enjoy the sound that was nearly static free.
"All poofters they are!"
The thumb hit the small disposable lighter disk. There was a spark, then the flame shakingly sprung up to perform its duty.
"She's the best singer in the whole world. A voice like velvet."
Odessa looked out the black window shifting the weight from the calf to the thigh whilst Orson held a box of Goodfellas pizza at arm length to better read the cooking instructions.
"Twenty-five minutes in the oven," the raspy voice intoned, and then paused.
Odessa scratched her chin. Orson held his breath.
The voice, trembling and powerful, rose from nowhere holding the slow and sonorous notes forever.
"See what I mean?" Orson wimpered removing his spectacles. "It makes me cry," he sniffed fingering the inside corner of the eye under the incredulous girl's stare before shaking loose an oversize handkerchief. "Bloody marvellous she is!"