The 78 was nothing but scratches at first, even under the laser needle. Kelly gave it a blast of compressed air to help clear away dust, but even then it was clear the LP had been well-loved and there were signs of extensive play with a steel needle. After a few moments, she could hear what sounded like a woman’s voice. At first it sounded like low speech, but after a minute Kelly realized it was tittering.

A moment later, a male voice joined in with a full belly laugh. Then another deeper female voice. Then another male. In the first minute of play, a cacophony of howling laughter issued from the thing–so much that Kelly would have thought it had been multitracked, if the technology had existed in 1921.

“So, Fayr Records Presents: The Fayr Pandemonium Record” she said, tapping the sleeve on her desk. “You’re yet another failed cash-in on the laughing record fad.”

Kelly pulled the record off and added it to the pile for later digitization with a harrumph. The laughter, which had been taking on an increasingly manic, almost desperate air, died.

Moments later, as Kelly was preparing another record from the pile, she heard something in her headphones. Dismissing it as an autorun ad in one of the open tabs on her browser, she kept fiddling with the record until something resolved from the faint noise: a giggle.

A tinny, scratchy, manic desperate giggle.

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