Listen to the story narrated by master storyteller Otis Jiry
3-2-1…you’re on the air!
“Hello folks! Glad you could make it to my broadcast – The Tom Mahon Hour. We have a lot to talk about tonight, but before we do, I’d like to ask you something; do you believe in ghosts?
The reason I ask, is the production crew has been complaining of some wacky things going on in the studio lately. Things disappearing…and reappearing again somewhere else. Stuff like that.
I’ve got to tell you right now that I don’t believe in ghosts. If you do, call and let me know why, okay?
Let’s move on to the controversies that are currently surrounding our state legislators and crime in the local neighborhoods. Hello caller, this is Tom…what’s your name?”
“Okay Jacob, what’s your beef this evening?”
“I want those young hoodlums to quit walking over my grave.”
“I’m sorry Jacob, I think we have a bad connection. Did you say someone’s walking over your grave?”
“That’s right! I’m getting sick of it and if it doesn’t stop I’m going to have to resort to haunting them, and the neighborhood!”
“Oh boy…they’re out tonight!” Tom laughed while hanging up on the caller.
“That’s what I like about doing this show, listeners. There’s always something new under the sun…or like in this case, the phone. Stick with me a minute while our sponsors get their messages across this windy night in Chicago.
Tom took the opportunity to see what Dexter, the production’s sound man wanted.
“What’s up Dex?” he asked.
“Someone outside wants to see you.”
“Who?” Tom asked with real interest. This wasn’t a common event.
“He says his name is Jacob.”
Tom froze. “The guy’s a nut. Tell him to leave. Say you’ll call the police.”
He hurried back to his swivel chair and flipped the mic on just as the logo music ended for an ad about blood pressure medicine.
“Back again callers! I have a hunch it’s going to be a long night. Going ahead and sip on something good, and share your thoughts. This is Tom Mahon, and I’m listening.”
The next forty minutes went by quickly as people called in to complain about local issues and corrupt politicians.
“I’ll take one more call before calling it a night. Hello, this is Tom.”
“This is Jacob, and I’m not happy with you Tom. That was pretty rude, hanging up on me like that.”
Tom stared at the mic with growing horror. He didn’t like the sound of this guy’s voice.
“I told you, I’m getting tired of people walking over all over my grave. You know that empty lot you live by on Elm street Tom? Well, that’s where I was buried. Things were fine until the developers built your brand new neighborhood around my final resting place. I want it to stop!”
Somehow Tom stammered, “You’re crazy! Leave me alone!” He turned the mic off and sat there ashen faced. His heart was beating so fast he had to take a couple of deep gulps of air.
“Hey Dexter!” he shouted at the sound room. “There’s a caller named Jacob whose crazy…”
“Yeah, I know,” Dexter said. “I was listening you know.”
“Don’t ever let him through again!”
Tom was still shaking when he went outside and got into his car. It would be light soon and thoughts of Jacob would dissipate during the day.
When five o’clock rolled around it was time for Tom to go to bed. He started work at midnight. All he needed were six hours of sleep.
He woke up with a start. Someone was pounding on his front door! He slipped his robe on, walked out into the living room and turned the porch light on. Leaving the latch lock in place, he peeked out the opening.
He didn’t see anything at first and started to relax thinking it was just some kid playing a prank. Then he looked down on the porch. There was a pile of foul-smelling dark rich earth spread out covering the tile.
It was 10 o’clock and he decided to stay up. He couldn’t sleep now if he wanted. This was getting out of hand. But how could he tell the police that a pile of dirt was a threat? There was the phone call from the night before. Would it be enough?
By the time he got to work he had a pounding headache. It was clear and cold outside. He welcomed the cup of hot coffee Dexter gave him as soon as he entered.
“Are we doing open mic night again, or do I have a guest tonight?” he asked eagerly.
“No guest. Sorry. It’s open mic again.”
Tom sat in his leather swivel chair and held the hot cup of coffee up to his mouth and inhaled the aroma. He took a couple of aspirin and looked over a list of topics his producer, Dan, lined up for him.
The first hour of phone calls went smoothly with some lively topics. Then Tom’s jovial tone stopped abruptly as the caller identified himself as Jacob! He looked over at Dexter with panic and surprise in his eyes. Dexter looked shocked and was shaking his head.
“I’m about to lose my patience with you Tom. You find a way to keep people from walking all over my grave or you’re going to be seeing a lot of me in your dreams! This is your last warning...”
On the way home from work that morning he decided to contact the developer who was, an old classmate, and find out what the status of the open lot was.
That they were friends, was another reason he decided to buy one of his new homes, on the newly named Elm street.
“What’s that status of that empty lot at the end of my street,” Tom asked.
“It’s not a full lot. I’m not sure what to do with it.”
“There’s something you should know Rory. The neighborhood kids have been playing there frequently and there’s been a couple of injuries. At some point some angry parent may try to sue you for damages.”
“I had no idea! Thanks for letting me know pal. I’ll get right on that and put up a fence with warning signs. I can’t thank you enough for bringing this to my attention.”
Tom left feeling relieved. He hoped the ghost – which he now believed in – would allow time for the fence to go up before haunting him.
True to his word, Rory was at the open lot the following day with a work crew, who put up a solid wooden fence around the lot’s perimeter. No trespassing signs were also posted.
Four nights later. Tom was feeling normal again. His logic was badly bruised by the experience, but he was glad it turned out well. That night on open mic all of his callers were animated, and he was enjoying himself.
“Hello! This is Tom Mahon, how can I help you?”
“My name is Issac, and a friend of mine referred me to you to get some help.”
The skin began to crawl on Tom’s arms, and the hairs on his neck bristled. “What’s your friend’s name?” he reluctantly asked.
“Jacob. He says you can get people to stop walking all over my grave...”
Tom’s scream reverberated across the airwaves…
As It Stands, you never know what you might hear on the radio.