"Dead! All dead!" I heard DJ Zack say to BJ Malloy. "How could this have happened?" He had a look of panic on his face. "Simple. Everyone in the building thought they were clever and didn't think one fan and an industry insider could do all this," he answered. "Now the industry is paying the price for all its transgressions."

BJ looked back to the day it all started a year ago. One radio station in New York was changing formats at the expense of the broadcasters there, all legends and another was going to be non-existant before Year's End. The latter he had personally been through and it genuinely messed his head around and one listener he knew. And although his relationship with him had ended happily they both knew that The Radio Industry's troubles were far from over. And it was going to get much worse now that the unthinkable had happened.

By far and large most program directors and General Managers ignored the conventional wisdom that worked in times past. It had become akin to a Hillbilly Feud between The Hatfields and McCoys. Only it steadily got more out of control and no one knew what to do about it. BJ knew it had been coming for a very long time, so did his friend and loyal fan, S.A..

Many of the more famous ones had long since forgotten why they were doing the job and all that seemed to matter was the money. It had taken precedence over the fans who listened to them. Every time they tried to get close to each other they would draw back. And they unfortunately had made their last great mistake in doing an irresponsible act.

And DJ Zack was at the center of it.

He had partnered up with another broadcaster in the hope of doubling both their ratings. The format was even more mean spirited and vile than DJ Zack's own shtick. And no one liked it save for the fans who clammered on their every word.

"I heard that one of your fans shot himself over you, Zack," Ripper Rothstein said.

"Yeah. What a shmutz! He thought I was his hero. It was all over the papers. They say I'm responsible for that. I'm not taking the blame. He was just a stupid kid looking for something to believe in." That however did not go over well with his family who was certain that their Son's fanaticism had gotten him killed, The psychological shock was damaging to her boy in a way she hadn't realized before. He did pull a gun on her to get what he wanted and it was the end result from believing an idol he wanted to emulate. And after he died she immediately placed the blame on Zack for shattering his dreams.

In retaliation she pleaded with The FCC to take him off the air but they didn't solely because he was a strong draw and no one could pin anything on him. In the eyes of Society he was The Media's darling who could do no wrong.

But other forces were conspiring to make Zack's life a living hell. There were insiders in the industry who also wanted him dead - literally. His posturing was getting out of control and everyone knew it save for his remaining fans whom he treated with contempt. That night Tim Rollins' Mother made a deal with The Devil.

The following week was a busy one for Zack. He had been invited to a banquet dinner in his honor. Other celebrity Radio Personalities were invited too.Over two hundred guests attended. Zack would regale them with tales of his success and put down the participants in a show of arrogance at the same time. The festivities would be very short lived for him.

That night as the celebration got under way a loud sound was heard from outside the main hallway. The ground beneath the guests rumbled loudly shaking them off balance but soon they regained their composure and a glass was raised in salute to The Monarch Of All Broadcasting.

"A toast to our loyal brother in arms, DJ Zack," one radio personality in his mid-30's proclaimed. All the others agreed in unison. The glass broke in his hand after the pistol shattered it.All eyes turned to see two clad mobsters with a thousand henchmen surrounding the building from all corners. "Playtime's over, Zack," a gruff looking man told him. With those words a shower of bullets from rifles and guns were heard throughout the room. Everyone ran in different directions trying to get away from the gunfire and everywhere they went escape was hopelessly lost to them. And all Zack could do was watch in utter shock as each of his competitors were viciously murdered by the gangsters. When the last man fell all guns were pointed at Zack. He had never been so scared in all his life. "Please, guys. I'm yer pal, DJ Zack," he pleaded.

"Pal you say?" Tim's mother said behind a mask. "You weren't My son's pal." With a pull of the trigger she got him in the right arm and he fell to the floor.

Moments later an ambulance came and Zack was taken to the hospital. He was wounded but lucky to be alive.

BJ Malloy while not a big fan favorite of DJ Zack stopped by the hospital to see him. His arm in a sling he was watching tv from a confined area near a picture window. The sky was dismal grey with rain clouds.

That's how BJ remembered it flashing back to the present moment. "Your fans are already asking questions. They see you as their savior.The press sees you in a different light now. And your colleagues have turned against you and are fighting among themselves," he told him. "You've given us surviving broadcasters a bad name. A lot of us have gone into hiding because of the incident last year. Tim Rollin's Mother and her hencemen will come looking for all of us one way or the other. Whatever you tried to do has been made worse by your irresponsibility. I'm leaving this burg for good. I won't be back until it's safe to return."

With that BJ walked out of the room Zack was in. He would never see BJ anytime soon. For now he had bigger problems. He had brought his gun for protection as he fell off to sleep. Lying beneath the covers his eyes peered out the picture window of his bedroom shaking with fear in the darkness.

Zack would never know peace again.

Created on 18-Nov-1999 at 00:59:09