Kitty Saves the World Page 31

“Yes,” I said. Not a bit of hesitation, which depressed me.

“Well. All right then.” Cormac wore a sly grin. Like poking the hornet’s nest was exactly what we’d wanted to accomplish.

“I need a shower,” I muttered, and stalked on to the Jeep and my clothes.

Cormac also brought my phone, which was stuck in my jeans pocket. It beeped a message as soon as we hit the freeway heading back to Denver. I was hoping to see Shaun on the caller ID. But no, it was Ozzie. The station manager at KNOB and my immediate boss. The guy who ran herd on me and made sure that I made sure there was a show every week. I supposed I could just ignore him. But I didn’t, because I’d have to talk to him eventually. Either that, or just disappear.

“Hi,” I said. I managed to sound even more tired than I felt.

“You coming in to work at all this week? Or should I plan on playing folk music during your show Friday?”

Oh yeah. Work. The show. I really ought to think about that. What day of the week was it, anyway? “That depends, are we talking like Bob Dylan pop-rock folk, or British retro-folk like Fairport Convention? Or are you just going to straight-up play Kingston Trio concert bootlegs?”

That at least made him pause for a second. “There are Kingston Trio concert bootlegs? Seriously?”

“Should I be worried that you actually sound interested?”

“Kitty, cut it out. I need you at work, or I need some notice that you’re not coming in so we can plan around you.”

I glanced at Ben. He was whispering, “Take vacation time.”

“Um, Ozzie? What day is it right now?” I had completely lost track.

“It’s Thursday, Kitty,” he said in a long-suffering tone of voice.

“So when am I going to be powerful enough and untouchable enough that I get to boss you around?”

“I remember when you were a snot-nosed intern who didn’t know that the Go-Go’s started out as a punk band. So, never.”

Figured he’d play the old-man card. Well, tomorrow was Friday, I was upright and in town—of course I was going to do the show.

“Thanks, Ozzie. I’ll be in today, don’t worry.”

I hung up before he could say anything else patronizing and guilt inducing. Looking at Ben, I waited for him to argue and say I shouldn’t do the show while all the rest of this crap was going on. Not when I had a target painted on my chest.

What he said: “Wait, the Go-Go’s were a punk band?”

Chapter 11

I GOT TO KNOB’s building and felt an incongruous wash of contentment. No matter what happened, this was an island. The chaos rarely stretched this far.

The receptionist stopped me on the way to the elevator.

“Kitty, Ozzie wants to see you first thing.”

“Is that good or bad?”

“Well, he wasn’t yelling. He’s not in a bad mood.”

That was entirely inconclusive. “Wish me luck, I guess.”

I got to the offices upstairs. Ozzie’s door was open, so I knocked on the frame. I avoided entering his domain, where some fifteen years of clutter reigned. I didn’t want to knock over one of the piles of CDs sitting on the floor.

When I first started working at KNOB—as that snot-nosed intern before landing the late-night DJ gig—Ozzie annoyed the hell out of me. He was one of those smug aging baby boomers with a thinning ponytail and a musical aesthetic frozen at 1978 prog rock. He’d mellowed out over the years since then. Or maybe I had. He’d supported me. Hell, turning The Midnight Hour into a regular show had been his idea. Syndication was his idea. I owed him a lot.

He got up from his desk. “Kitty, you’re here, good. Great timing. There’s someone here to see you, he’s waiting in the conference room.”

I blinked at him, bemused. “Is this something I was supposed to know ahead of time? An actual appointment?”

Ozzie winced apologetically. “Not really. It’s kind of last minute. He called this morning, and since you said you were going to be in today, I told him to go ahead and come over—he really wants to talk to you in person. I think it’s important—it feels big. Just give the guy ten minutes to hear him out.”

Why not? “You coming?” I assumed this was about the show. As my producer, Ozzie would want to be there.

“He wants to pitch to you first.”

Well, okay then.

Ozzie led me to the conference room, gestured me in, and was strangely deferential during introductions.

“Hi, Mr. Lightman? Thanks for waiting. Kitty? This is Charles Lightman. This is Kitty Norville, our star.” His smile was earnest, anxious.

Mr. Charles Lightman had been standing, studying the bulletin board filled with workplace announcements and concert flyers, colorful and overlapping in archaeological layers. He looked over, brightened, came toward us. He couldn’t have been much more than thirty, so baby faced he might not have needed to shave more than twice a week. Fashionably floppy black hair brushed his ears. He was shorter than me by an inch.

Just before stretching out his hand for shaking, he pulled up short. “I’m sorry—werewolves aren’t much for shaking hands, isn’t that right? I read that somewhere.” He had the Hollywood patter, fast and easygoing.

I hoped my smile was gracious rather than irritated. “Most of us are fairly well socialized. We don’t mind it too much.” I offered my hand to demonstrate. He shook with a strong, dry grip.

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