Greg Nowell is a voice in the darkness–a late-night talk-show host who tackles controversial subjects, from angels to aliens and government agencies so deep in shadow that the puppet strings they use to exercise control are invisible. His radio show is a world of the paranormal and paranoia, where claims of alien abductions, Big Foot sightings, and a mysterious world government are the norm.
Greg’s world explodes when government agents accuse him of having received ultra-secret files from Ethan Shaw, a hacker intent on exposing a secret cabal with tentacles throughout the government. Greg knows nothing about the files. When Shaw is killed and the evidence points to Greg, the radio personality goes on the run, stalked by a demented assassin. As he tries to unravel the deadly secrets the hacker uncovered, Greg is helped by Alyssa Neal, a mysterious woman who says Shaw also dragged her into the boiling cauldron of intrigue.
Greg realizes his paranoia is really “heightened awareness” of strange machinations. He seeks help from callers to his show who don’t trust the government, have gone “under the radar,” or are angry and paranoid about the vast gathering of information and invasions of privacy by government agencies.
Night Talk will become available July 26th. Please enjoy this excert.
This is Night Talk with the Nighthawk. We’re back on the phones with time for one more call before we sign off. Let’s go to Josh in Grand Junction, Colorado.”
Greg Nowell’s late-night radio talk show ran from ten at night to three in the morning. He had been sitting in front of the microphone for five hours, still going strong but a little tired because the show required a lot of energy and staying constantly on his toes. Tonight’s show had been filled with guests who had spoken about near-death experiences, a psychic who led the police to a child killer and a UFO incident over Stonehenge, followed by “Open Lines,” in which callers from all over the country called in to discuss what troubled or interested them.
“Thanks for having me on, Greg. I listen to your show every night but I haven’t gotten up the courage to call in. I … I like your show because you listen to people; you aren’t out there lecturing everyone, telling people what they should have done instead of what they did. But like I said, I haven’t had the courage.”
It was closing in on the time for Greg to make it a short call and hang it up for the night, to go home, put his feet up and have a glass of red wine. But something in the man’s tone caught his attention.
Colorado was an hour ahead of L.A., making it nearly four in the morning for Josh. Greg sensed both fatigue and tension in the man’s voice. Not just the nervous tinge some callers get when they suddenly realize they’re on a national radio show, but sadness, even grief. Josh obviously wanted to talk but it was hard for him. Like he said, he had to get up his courage to make the call.
“You got the courage tonight and you’re among millions of friends coast to coast and overseas. We have strength in numbers and we’re here to share with you.”
Greg shrugged as Vince, his broadcast engineer, gave him a grin and a shake of his head. The engineer had picked up on the stress in the caller’s voice and Greg’s empathetic response. His late-night talk show got all kinds of callers, some with fear and anxiety about the world they lived in, some with information or observations they wanted to share and sometimes a caller who just needed a sympathetic ear. Many sensed that they lived in a world manipulated by unknown forces that operated in secret and conspired to achieve complete control.
Greg was seated at the broadcast desk. In front of him, almost in his face, was a big microphone that hung from a flexible arm mounted on the desk. Besides the microphone, the large desk held his keyboard, computer monitor and other screens displaying information. Three other positions with computer plug-ins and mics were available for in-studio guests.
Vince was positioned at the control console across the room. To Greg’s right was a large window that divided his soundproof broadcasting booth from the control room where Soledad, his producer, and her assistant were positioned.
Soledad was the show runner. She screened all incoming calls, putting the callers she approved in a queue. Their names, locations and subject matter appeared on a screen in front of Greg so he could introduce them.
The studio was located in L.A.’s historic Broadway Theater District, where twelve movie palaces, grand dames of the Golden Age of Hollywood, still stood.
“It’s about what happened to my family,” Josh said. “Three years ago, out near the Four Corners, where those states all bump. We were making our way home after visiting my wife’s family in Albuquerque … me, Emma and our baby.”
“Four Corners; I’ve been there, out to the monument and some of the small towns in the area,” Greg said. “Give me a second; I want to bring up a satellite view of it on my screen.”
He brought up a map and then a ground image of the quadripoint where Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico came together, the only place in the country where four states touched. A short distance off Route 160, at the exact spot where the corners of the four states met, was a monument maintained by the Navajo Nation.
The region was sparsely inhabited at best and much of it was under the auspices of Native American nations. Rocks, dirt, stunted plants and not much else populated most of the region. Even the sagebrush looked lonely.
“That’s quite a desolate stretch, Josh. Some of it looks like the moon.”
“It’s the dark side of the moon at night. You drive for miles and miles and there isn’t anything but sagebrush and rattlesnakes in every direction.”
“True. But it’s a hot territory for UFO sightings. All of New Mexico is—Roswell, Aztec, Dulce, the secret experiments at Los Alamos. UFOs seem to flourish out there like orchids in a hothouse.”
“Yeah, that’s because there are places out there where nobody is going to see what’s happening.”
“You see something out there, Josh?”
“Yeah, but they won’t believe me.”
“Who won’t believe you?”
“Nobody. Not one damn person.” His voice cracked. “Not the police, my wife’s family…”
“What happened out there, Josh? What did you see?”
“It came down right in front of me with lots of lights, just like in the movies. A big disk, just hovering there over the highway.”
“Yeah, a UFO with blinding lights. Lights that felt like they were sucking out my eyeballs. Hypnotizing me as I stared at them. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them, I couldn’t see the road, couldn’t feel the steering wheel in my hand. I felt like I was being sucked out of the car, into the darkness, but no one believes me.”
“What about your wife? What does she say?”
Soledad shot him a look with her eyebrows raised and Greg grimaced. He realized he had asked a bad question as soon as it rolled off his tongue. The man wasn’t grieving because he saw a UFO, but because of what happened after he was blinded by the light.
There was a heavy silence on the other end of the line. Greg could hear Josh breathing, choking back a sob.
“She—she … they … Emma and the baby—Oliver, that was his name, the name of our son…”
Greg’s guts tightened. He wanted to crawl under his desk and hide but he had to help the guy out. The man had kept the story festering in his heart for too long. He needed to get it out and realize that he was not alone, that there were others who had had tragic incidents. Greg spoke softly. “They’re gone, Josh?”
“They said I ran off the road. I told the cops that I was hypnotized by the lights, the blinding lights, but they said that it happens because the road is so damn long and straight and narrow that people just doze off and run off the road. We rolled—rolled over a couple of times.”
Greg had heard the story before—cars drifting off long, narrow flatland roads and rolling. The highways in the Four Corners region were classic flat roads, slender black ribbons elevated a few feet off the desert floor on either side to keep them from being washed out by flash floods. Elevating the road with little shoulder room on either side meant it didn’t take much to go off and roll.
With no houses or traffic for miles in any direction, it was also a perfect place for a UFO encounter—long distances with little traffic, especially at night, settlements few and far between.
“I told them but they wouldn’t listen to me,” Josh said. “They thought I was making excuses and there weren’t any witnesses.”
Greg felt the need to relieve some of the man’s pain.
“Sure there was, Josh; you’re an eyewitness, you were there. You saw what happened. You’re just another witness that gets discredited because you saw something the powers that be don’t want us to know about. That’s how it’s been since the beginning. The government discredits anyone who stumbles onto evidence that we have visitors from the beyond.”
Josh sucked in a breath. “You’re right, you’re right, I saw it, I am a witness. They should have taken my word.”
Greg eased Josh off the air and went through sign-off. He crumbled broadcast notes into a ball and tossed it at Vince. “Let’s shut this place down.”
Soledad came into the room.
Greg said, “You knew he’d be a tough one for me. You should have warned me.”
She gave him a grin. “You’re at your best when you suck in someone else’s problems.”
“The poor guy is consumed with guilt. And you know what, who knows what happened out there? It’s the kind of place where you could set off a nuke and no one would notice.”
“You’re not off the hook yet. Your favorite hacker insists on talking to you.”
She tried to hand him the phone and he waved it off.
“How does he sound?” Greg asked.
“Weird. Frightened. Scary.”
“Copyright © 2016 by George Noory”
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