hey friends and neighbors, this is Uncle Rob Jobs, KJYLM's Midnight
Radio God, welcoming you to the show where it's all talk, rock, and
howling good unadulterated schlock until the sun comes up! And what a
show we've got for you loyal listeners tonight!!
Yessir-eeeeeeeeeeeee, in a very short time
we'll be making the draw for our much-anticipated Halloween Grand
Prize. For all you night owls who've been entering again and again like
the greedy, greedy ghouls that you are, let me wish you all good luck,
especially if you're aiming to curl your hungry claws around our
mysterious grand prize that I guarantee you is BIG, BAD and totally
"Could that guy be
any more obnoxious?" Merlin Jones muttered to herself as she shoved
her janitor's cart along the basement level of the Netherwood Research
She glanced back,
wishing her partner for the evening would keep up. Wally Witherspoon,
however, was still at the far end of the long hallway fiddling with the
dials of her ancient boom box and sporting that glassy-eyed look that
told Merlin she was totally hung up on every word coming out of Uncle
Merlin shook her
head. It seemed that the whole city had gone into a feeding frenzy over
KJYLM's radio contest. It was downright creepy the way everybody was
talking about the mysterious grand prize draw. Thank God the
winner would be announced tonight; the speculation and mounting
hysteria were getting on Merlin's nerves.
"What did you say,
honey?" Wally all but yelled to make herself heard over her radio. "I
was listening to Uncle Rob. I just love him to death, don't you?"
Merlin rolled her
eyes and felt like screaming. She wished a rogue asteroid would
vaporize Wally's beloved Uncle Rob. The woman was obviously as
brainwashed as everyone else. Or maybe the mysterious sponsor
had put something in the water.
Thank God she hadn't
fallen victim. Wasting her hard-earned money on games of chance? Not an
option. Over the past few years her priorities had been paying off her
mother's horrendous medical expenses and putting herself through
college. Whatever small change was left at the end of the month, Merlin
wasn't about to throw away on questionable games of chance - especially
on an ambiguous radio contest overseen by its even more dubious - and
yes – creepy radio host. No one had even heard of the guy before he hit
the airwaves at KJYLM.
Wally finally caught
up. As she huffed to a stop she started belaboring Merlin's staunch
refusal to buy a ticket all over again. "You know, dear, I'm sure
you're the only one in the city who hasn't bought a ticket. You'll kick
yourself if you find out you could have won."
Merlin cast her
partner a quizzical look, wondering if the woman's thought processes
were scrambled. "That doesn't make any sense, Wally."
ticket, dear, just one ticket is all it takes!"
Merlin shook her
head. It's as if Wally hadn't heard.
Eager to have this
increasingly annoying night end, she swiped them into Lab #13666 and
waited for the locks to disengage, a ritual she'd performed hundreds of
times over the last three years. She had to admit that the place had
creeped her out from the moment she first walked through the facility's
front doors. On those odd nights when she'd worked on her own Merlin
could have sworn she'd seen shadows move. But when she took a closer
look there was nothing there and she'd written it off as her overactive
imagination or lack of sleep. Nor had she seen even one of the
scientists who supposedly worked here. Other than a few security
personal and janitors, the place was always empty by the time Merlin
reported for her shift.
How weird was that?
And what kind of
research did they do around here anyway? Not even Wally knew and she'd
been here since the place opened.
As far as Merlin was
concerned, the whole set-up was surreal.
She should have quit
long ago, but no other part time job paid as well. The point was moot
now anyway, Merlin decided. Another couple of weeks and she'd have her
degree. Quitting Netherwood would be her first priority. No more long
hours working the graveyard shift, no more sleep deprivation, no more
penny pinching - and best of all, no more listening to Rob Jobs the
Midnight Radio God!
"Don't lie to me,
boys and girls; I know you're all secretly wishing you'll be the one to
win KJYLM's Secret Mega Grand Prize. What's the Secret Mega Grand
Prize, you ask? Sorry, but you know I can't say. It's part of the rules
set down by management and our anonymous sponsors. And since Uncle Rob
loves his job, he knows better than to piss those guys off! So stay
tuned and stay sharp! If you hear YOUR name announced over the next
hour or so, BAD LUCK, BABY! You're disqualified from KJYLM's Secret
Mega Grand Prize!! So let's start the countdown …"
On the other side of
town Detective Jake Smith whipped through an intersection and shot his
partner a dark scowl. Why the hell did Tony insist on listening to
KJYLM's resident crackpot? Jake had no idea. As for Tony, he was his
usual twitchy self, pretending the dashboard was an imaginary set of
drums, all the while listening intently to every word oozing out of Rob
Jake snorted in
disgust. He'd had about enough and reached out to switch channels only
to have his hand swatted aside.
"What are you
doing, man? Uncle Rob is about to announce the Mega prize."
Jake clenched his
teeth and accelerated. He was grumpy and exhausted and just wanted to
crawl into his comfortable king sized bed, even if Angie wasn't around
any longer to have it all warmed up for him. He wasn't surprised she'd
packed up and left. It was no secret that Jake was a workaholic.
But lately even he
had gotten tired of the increasingly unreasonable demands of his
Captain, and Tony's endlessly ridiculous and sometimes eerie notions
about Lady Luck, fate, special numeric combinations and the shitload of
other superstitious nonsense that he kept tucked away inside his head.
don't tell me you were stupid enough to drop a month's pay for tickets.
If you did, don't expect me to run interference with Lena."
Tony's features paled
and Jake knew he was mentally replaying the fiasco that ensued when
Lena had discovered how Tony's latest attempt to snare the Golden
Fleece had seriously backfired. Lena might be all of ninety-eight
pounds soaking wet but she had a notorious temper.
Tony shot Jake a
sheepish look and muttered, "Yeah, yeah, she made me see the error
of my ways. That woman just doesn't get it."
"Oh, she gets it
just fine. You have mortgage payments and two kids on their way to
college. And more important, you're a cop. You should know better than
to fall for what stinks of a scam."
"Come on, partner,
where's your sense of adventure, eh? Oh wait, that's right, you're Mr.
You've been even more of a pain in the ass since Angie left."
Tony punctuated his
observation with a pitying glance and went on to point out, "She
would have made you buy a ticket. And you know what else I think?"
tightened around the steering wheel as he flew through another
intersection on an amber light. Why bother interjecting? His partner
would fill him in regardless.
"You need a nice
long vacation. Maybe that's what the Mega Grand prize is, eh? A
vacation to some exotic locale, bubbling over with wine, women and
pearly white beaches. Wouldn't that be great?"
Jake snorted and
rolled his eyes. What a cliché. His partner had absolutely no
imagination when it came to the perfect vacation.
Generally he rode the
wave of Tony's wide-eyed enthusiasm about life and Lady Luck. But
tonight for some reason, Jake's patience had about run out. Thank God
it was only another couple of blocks to Tony's tidy little duplex on
Jake was well aware
that he needed a holiday. His city had turned weird lately. It's like
the whole town had gone crazy. Sure, October generally brought out the
nut jobs, but as the month drew to a close, a particularly abundant
crop had come crawling out of the shadows. KJYLM's damned Mystery Draw
only made matters worse. It's as if the entire city had been
As if! Jake was
certain the whole thing was nothing more than a money grabbing
minute October 31st officially clocked itself out for another year,
Jake was putting in for vacation time to work on that fixer-upper
he'd put a down payment on two springs ago. It was a ramshackle
bungalow out by the lake that had definitely seen better days - and
would likely take years to turn into his idea of the perfect dream
home, and just as likely suck up every penny and spare moment he had.
But Jake didn't care,
was in fact looking forward to getting out of the city and losing
himself in good old-fashioned hard work. As his old man had taught him,
games of chance were for fools, and Jake liked to believe he was
all you greedy guys and ghouls, ARE YOU READY?? READY FOR KJYLM's GRAND
PRIZE DRAW? LET'S GET DOWN TO THE BUSINESS OF ANNOUNCING OUR GRAND
PRIZE WINNER THEN, SHALL WE!!!! AWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"