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December 14, 2018

48. First Time Caller, Long Time Listener

3:21am

“K-WXYZ 88.7 The Buzz, this is Izzy Jinx. On the air from three to five this middle morning taking your calls. You just heard A Long December by Counting Crows. Lines are open and so are our hearts. Let’s talk to our first caller tonight. Hello, you’re on the air.”

Silence.

* * *

Bobby Newton was a customer service representative for a small technology startup. Instead of based in a metropolitan he was located in Kansas to cover time zones. He lived alone and enjoyed his job. It payed well and allowed for flexible hours. But he always dreamt of doing something more. Something larger.

Bobby stopped by a local radio station one day and asked for a time slot. Some time during the night when the smallest audience was listening. He had something in mind similar to Delilah but without all the soft and mushy. Something real for the late night and early morning crowd—as few people as possible while still enjoying himself. Even with the abstract idea the station manager agreed since it was an otherwise unheard hour and only replayed previous programs. Something new would at least liven up the roster. The program became a late night reprieve for anyone awake between three and five in the morning. And Bobby Newton became Izzy Jinx, a sort of second self that could speak more openly than his true self allowed.

* * *

After a brief moment of slice Izzy repeated, “Caller, you are on the air.”

An old lady croaked in, “Um yes, hello? Is this Izzy?”

“Yes! You are on the air”—he was tired of saying—“and what is your name?”

“Um, I’d rather not say,” say the voice hesitantly.

“Well tell us where you are calling from and what is your story?” he regained enthusiasm.

“I’d rather not say my name,” she said again “because I just killed someone,” she concluded.

Izzy was silent for a moment and left his persona as Bobby thought quickly.

“Ma’am, we can’t track your call here but if this is an emergency, I should send law enforcement and an ambulance. Are you sure they are dead? Can you tell me your whereabouts? Please.”

“Don’t get all riled up, I just needed someone to talk to,” her aged voice had a little waiver to it.

“But…why would you kill someone? Self defense?” he reasoned aloud.

“You could say that. I needed the blood. And being a little elderly these days gives me the upper hand with deceit—folks think they can steal from a little old lady—and here I am: ready for them,” she said calmly. “Life is all about our perception of reality. What is real and what is make believe?”

“Needed the blood? What makes you need someone else’s blood?” Izzy asked.

“Iggy, listen,” she started.

“Its Izzy. My name is Izzy,” he responded with calm.

“Right, Izzy. It’s a hunt. An eternal game of chase. I crave the last gasps of air as I breathe their life into my lungs and drink their blood into my belly. The hunt and kill! The death rattle before they give up the ghost. Have you ever heard of vampires?”

Izzy had been searching for a pen and paper—something to document this conversation. This couldn’t be prank, not at this hour and with this lady. But what action could he take? He listened and fumbled around his cluttered desk.

“Vampires? Of course! You aren’t telling me you’rea vampire, are you? Vampires aren’t real! Listen, lady—can you at least tell me your name? [She signed audibly.] I can send some help to your house. Its late and it sounds like you could use someone more serious to talk to,” Izzy felt calm and his blood pressure had eased. But he still couldn’t help this crazy lady if he didn’t have anything to go on.

“Izzy, hear me out. Or, let me call you by your name: Bobby, I know about you. I know quite a lot about you—”

“Alright, perhaps now is a good time for a quick song, folks” and he cut the audio to Alanis Morissette’s You Outta Know. “I’m still here, lady, I took the call off the air. What do you want? What do you really want? Why did you call?” he was getting anxious.

No answer.

***

3:54am

Izzy had Matchbox Twenty’s 2002 hit, Unwell on The Buzz. Izzy was still reeling from the phone call. The radio studio door to Izzy Jinx’s radio studio opened quietly behind him.

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