Jeremy Marsh sat with the rest of the live studio audience, feeling unusually conspicuous. His profession often demanded effective multitasking.He was an in vestigative journalist in pursuit of a story,and the blonde was just another member of the audience;still, the professional observer in him couldn’t help noticing how attractive she looked in her halter top and jeans. journalistically speaking, that is.
Clearing his mind, he tried ti ficus his attention on the guest again. This guy was beyond ridiculous. In the glare of television lights, Jeremy thought the spirit guide looked constipated as he claimed to hear voices from beyond the grave. He had assumed a false intimacy, acting as if he were everyone’s brother or best friend, and it seemed that the vast majority of the awestruck audience including the
the lost loved ones ended up. Spirits from beyond the grave were always surrounded by bright angelic light and enveloped in an aura of peace and tranquillity. A lost loved one never mentioned that he was being roasted on a spit or boiled in a cauldron of motor oil, for instance. But Jeremy knew he was being cynical. And besides, he had to admit, it was a pretty good show. Timothy Clausen was good far better than most of the quacks Jeremy had written about over the years.
I know it’s hard, Clausen said into the microphone, but Frank is telling you that it’s time to let him go now.
The woman he was addressing with oh so much empathy looked as if she was about to faint. Her hands were clasped so tightly at chest level that her fingers were white from the pressure.
Clausen paused and brought his hand to his forehead, drawing once more on the world beyond as he put it. In the silence, the crowd collectively leaned forward in their seats. Not surprisingly, Clausen was the only featured guest on the popular talk show.
Do you remember the letter he sent you? Clausen aske. Before he died?
The woman gasped. The crewman beside he held the microphone even closer so that everyone watching on television would be able to hear her clearly.
Yes but how could you know about? she stammered.Clausen didn’t let her finish. Do you remember what it said? he asked.
Yes, the woman croaked.
Clausen nodded, as if he’d read the letter himself. It was about forgiveness, wasn’t it?
On the couch, the hostess of the show, the most popular afternoon talk show in America, swiveled her gaze from Clausen to the woman and back again. She looked both amazed and satisfied. Spirit guides were always good for ratings.
As the woman in the audience nodded, Jeremy noticed mascara beginning to stream down her cheeks. The cameras zoomed in to show it more clearly. Daytime television at its dramatic best.
But how could you…..? the woman repeated.
He was talking about your sister, too, Clausen murmured. Not jus himself.
Your sister Ellen, Clausen added, and with that revelation, the woman finally let loose a raspy cry. Tears burst forth like an automated sprinkler. Clausen tan and trim in his black suit with nary a hair out of place continued to nod like one of those bobbing dogs you stick on your dashboard.k The audience gazed at the woman in utter silence.
Frank left something else for you, didn’t he? something from your past.
In the corner of the set, beyond the general viewing area, jeremy saw the producer rotating and upraised finger in a helicopter pattern. It was getting close to the commercial break. Clausen glanced almost imperceptibly in that direction. No one but Jeremy seemed to notice, and he often wondered why viewers never questioned how channeling from the spirit world could be timed so perfectly to fit with commercial breaks.
Clausen went on. That no one else could know about. A key of some sort, is that right?
The sobs continued as the woman nodded. You never thought he’d save it, did you?
Okay, here’s the clincher, jeremy thouth. Another true believer on the way.
It’s from the hotel where you stayed on your honeymoon. He put it there so that when you found it, you would remember the happy times you spent together. He doesn’t want you to remember him with pain, because he loves you.
Ooohhhhh…………, the woman cried.
Or something like that. A moan perhaps. From Where he was sitting jeremy Couldn’t be certain, because the cry was interrupted by sudden, enthusiastic applause. All at once, the microphone was pulled away. Cameras zoomed out. Her moment in the sun Completed, the woman from the audience collapsed in her seat. On cue, the hostess stood from the couch and faced the camera.
Remember that what you’re seeing is real. None of these people have ever met with Timothy Clausen. She smiled. We’ll be back with one more reading after this.
More applause as the show broke for commercials, and Jeremy leaned back in his seat.
As an investigative journalist known for his interest in science, he’d made a career out of writing about people like this. Most of the time, he enjoyed what he did and took pried in his work as a valuable public service, in a profession so special as to have its rights enumerated in the First Amendment of Constitution of the United States of America. For his regular column in Scientific American, he’d interviewed Nobel laureates, explained the theories of Stephen Hawking and Einstein in lay terms, and had once been credited with sparking the groundswell of public opinion that led the FDA to remove a dangerous antidepressant from the market. He’d written extensively about the Cassini project, the faulty mirror on the lens of the Hubble spacecraft, and had been one of the first to publicly decry the Utah cold fusion experiment as a fraud.