Paying The Price – Part 3

There was a brief silence and then a sinister chuckle. Al was really playing this to the hilt.

“I think that you think you’re pretty slick, Jonny. You know Jonny, justice is a tricky thing. You need to think about that.”

The line went dead and Jonny sat back for a minute, almost forgetting he was on the air. Al had really adlibbed on this.

“Alright then, it takes all kind eh, folks? We’re gonna take a break for these sponsors and I’ll be right back to take more of your calls.”

Jonny looked up at the engineer who just shook his head as if to say they’re howling tonight all right. He was going to have to give Al a call tomorrow and thank him for going along with the plan and try to find out why he hadn’t stuck more to the script. The commercial break ended and Jonny hit the air button.

“Okay, we’re back, let’s see what you have to say now. Caller, what’s on your mind?”

“Hi Jonny. Wow, what that last guy’s story? Look, I agree that you were hard on that guy who killed himself, but you’re right, he should have gotten help. I want to talk about something though. When is this city gonna crack down on the leash law we have in place? I’m sick and tired of seeing people letting their dogs run loose. Damn things shit all over the place and…”

“Caller, dogs shit whether they’re on a leash or not. The owner is supposed to clean up after them, don’t you think that’s the bigger issue?”

“Well, sure, but I just…”

“Perhaps you should get a life. There are more important things going on than dogs off their leashes, let’s move on.”

“Hi, you’re on the air, what’s on your mind?”

“Hi Jonny. So you think you weren’t responsible for what happened to that guy? He killed himself, Jonny, don’t you have any remorse?”

“Sure I do, I think it’s a real tragedy, but like I said to the last person who called about it, he should have gotten help and if you were listening that night you know I told him that.”

“Well sure he should have, but maybe you shouldn’t have been so harsh, that’s all. Perhaps you could contact his family. It might help them.”

“Um…yeah, thanks for that caller. I’ll give it some thought, you take care.”

Jonny felt the hairs on his neck stand up. That was the script he’d written for Al, and while it sure sounded like Al on the line, so had the other caller. The whole thing was weird. The rest of the shift went by without incident, but Jonny had trouble engaging with the callers. He couldn’t get what had happened out his mind. He noticed himself taking a slightly soften tack the rest of the night and a couple of the callers mentioned it and asked him with a laugh if he was feeling all right.

He slept uneasy that night and called Al the minute he got up. He had to know what was going on.

“Hi Al, hey what happened last night?”

“What do you mean, Jonny? I called and did what you asked. Didn’t I get it right?”

“So, that was you with the bit about calling the family? What about the call before that?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t tune into your show until just before I made the call. You still want me to call again tonight?”

“Uh, yeah Al, of course. Just like we planned it. You still have the script, right?”

“Sure Jonny. I’ll call tonight. See ya.”

Jonny hung up and was left wondering what was going on. It was going to be a long day.

Part 4 tomorrow.

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