Low Midnight Page 59

Cormac had the number for Kitty’s direct line at the studio, one that would bypass the screening queue and go directly to her monitor. Which meant he shouldn’t have gotten a busy signal when he called, but he did.

“Next caller, you’re on the air, what have you got for me?”

“Hi, Kitty, longtime listener, thanks so much for taking my call, I just want to know what you think about vampire couples adopting children. Since they, you know, can’t biologically have kids, do you think it’s reasonable for them to want to adopt? And, you know, would you expect them to turn that child into a vampire when it got old enough? You know how some people say ‘Don’t you wish they could stay little forever?’ Do you know if anyone’s ever actually made their baby a vampire, to keep it from growing up?”

Maybe a third of the people who called in needed serious advice and made reasonable contributions to the discussion. The rest of her callers were like this: people who didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about but sure had a lot of crazy going on.

Kitty sounded like she was in physical pain when she answered. He pictured her with her eyes closed, head in her hands. “There’s so much wrong with everything you said that I don’t even know where to start. First off, when we talk about vampire Families, we’re not talking Mom and Dad and two-point-five kids. In all my years, I’ve never met a vampire who has expressed an interest in having children—some of them have had children before becoming vampires, and continue to care deeply for those children. But those children are usually already grown. I’ve never met a vampire with, you know, children children. Mostly because I imagine arranging day care would be a bitch. Also, I’ve never met a non-adult vampire. Doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I imagine it’s possible. But you do know that people who wish babies could stay little forever are crazy, right? As the proud aunt of two adorable rugrats myself, I was so happy when they got to be old enough to take themselves to the restroom, you know? Anyway. From a purely biological perspective, vampires don’t reproduce by having children, they reproduce by infecting others with vampirism.…”

He tried her number again, and again. The third call got through, and a man’s flat, professional voice answered. “You’ve reached The Midnight Hour. What’s your question or comment?”

The screener. Somehow, the direct line had shunted him over to her regular call-in line. She didn’t have a screener in the early days of her show. She’d gotten a lot bigger since then. His frustration grew.

“It’s Matt, isn’t it?” he said. “I thought this was the direct line—I need to talk to Kitty, now.”

“Who’s this?” the guy said. “Where are you calling from?”

“Just put me through toKitty.”

“You can’t just talk to Kitty, she’s in the middle of—”

“It’s Cormac. She’ll talk to me. Put me through.”

“No! Wait a minute, Cormac—aren’t you that guy who wanted to kill her?”

People kept harping on that. He’d never live it down. “Tell her I’m on the line.”

“I don’t think—”

“Just do it.” He did not have the patience for this shit. “Tell her it’s important.”

“Please hold,” Matt spat at him. He probably didn’t have the patience either, but at least he had a button to push to pass the buck. “And you’ll need to turn your radio off.”

He did. He knew Kitty had a monitor, that she picked what calls to answer based on the screener’s listing. He wanted Matt to just tell her he was on the line. The lack of control was aggravating.

Then Kitty picked up. He was kind of surprised. “Cormac. What the hell?”

“What happened to your direct line?”

“Wait, what?”

“Your direct line, the emergency number—”

She groaned. “We’ve been having problems since we added a couple more lines. I’m sorry. I’ll get Matt to look at it after the show. Wait a minute … are you having an emergency?”

Was he? Probably. “No. I just need to tell you something.”

“Can’t it wait? I’m in the middle of the show!”

“Yeah. I’m kind of in the middle of something, too; it can’t wait.”

“Maybe I can make us both happy—can I put you on the air? Just for a couple of—”

“No. Hell no.”

“Just a couple of questions, people will love it!”



He sighed. Why did he even bother? “Fine.”

You really are a big softy at heart, aren’t you? Amelia said teasingly.

Yeah, or something.

A sound in the background clicked and the quality of the line changed to a more open tone, with more interference.

Sure enough, her next words were, “And I’ve got a sudden visit from a special guest. My very longtime listeners will know exactly who I’m talking about. It’s my great pleasure to introduce sometime bounty hunter and man of mystery, Cormac. Cormac, welcome!”

He ought to just hang up on her. “Norville. Make it quick.”

“Right. So, Cormac, what have you been up to since the last time we talked?”

He didn’t say a word. Not necessarily because he was trying to be difficult. He just couldn’t think of anything he’d want to say to Kitty’s nationwide audience.

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