By the time he arrived at work Jonny had resolved to deal with the mystery caller straight up and just tell him he wasn’t going to take any more. If all he had was hollow threats and wasn’t prepared to front up then he would be cut off every time he called. It made him feel better about the situation. He would tell the next person who called to discuss the matter that while he felt bad for the guy’s family he wasn’t going to take responsibility for the man’s actions and the matter was closed. If it affected the ratings, then so be it, he would take whatever came of it.
Walking into the studio later on he felt much lighter and was looking forward to his show. He planned to inject a little humour into the proceedings and try to change the mood. He was headed for his desk when Mike stepped out of his office and gestured for him to come in.
“Have a seat, Jonny, we need to talk.”
“What’s up Mike?”
Mike took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Jonny got a sinking feeling in his gut.
“Jonny, you were right. The guy who’s been calling you, well, he’s the same one who sent that cryptic note to the police.”
“How do you know? What’s happened?”
“We got a letter today. Words cut out of magazines. It ended the same way the one the police got. “Justice is a tricky thing.”
Jonny felt the air go out of him. Just when he thought he had a plan. Damn.
“Um…how do you know it isn’t a copycat? Can I see it?”
“I called the police and they came and got it. They confirmed it’s the same person. Some of what they didn’t reveal to the press is in the new letter. Has to be the same guy.”
Jonny wasn’t one to be afraid, but this had him rattled. Who the hell could this guy be?
“So what happens now?”
“Well, a couple of detectives will be here soon. They’re going to tap the lines and see if they can catch this guy before this gets any worse. Jonny, they need you to try to keep this guy on the line for at least thirty seconds, so you need to play this a little differently than you have been. Can you do that?”
“Sure, Mike. Whatever needs to be done. Look, I want you to know I never intended for this to…”
“I know Jonny. You’re not responsible for that guy offing himself. I never said you were. We just have to end this thing quickly. You’re a good host, Jonny.”
Finally at his desk Jonny took some deep breaths and tried to get himself under control. The whole thing was a bit much, but he knew he could manage. Sitting with his eyes closed for a minute he was startled when he looked up and two men were standing there staring at him.
“Hi Jonny,” one of them extended his hand. “I’m Detective Strauss, this is Detective Olson. We’re here to see if we can get your mystery caller.”
“Hi, yeah I know.”
He shook their hands and they outlined for him how it would all be done and gave him tips on keeping the caller on the line. Jonny listened carefully to everything they told him as his engineer looked on in wonder from the booth. Finally they moved in to the booth with him and set up their equipment. It was almost time to go on air. It was going to be an interesting night.
Part 7 tomorrow.