Sam Steele Stories
Sam looked around. Saw nothing. Heard nothing.
I’ve gone blind and deaf at midnight.
Well, not deaf. Not seeing, though. Wait, the engineer was working on the board earlier and left his flashlight.
Sam tapped the board with his hands, feeling his way to the side and down to the floor.
Where are you?
He slipped out of his chair and onto his knees. He crawled part way under the control board, patting his hand along the floor.
There you are!
He gripped the flashlight and turned it on.
“Good, I can see and hear.”
He stood up. And hit his head on the board.
I can see, hear, and feel pain.
He backed up farther and slowly stood, shining the light around the control room.
What happened? I should call the engineer.
Sam shined the light on the phone and picked up the receiver. No dial tone.
Okay, now what?
Sam eventually noticed the light was shaking. He was shaking.
Oh wow. Okay. I need to get out of here. Outside, yeah.
Sam shined the light on the floor and made his way to the door.
Fantastic! It’s just as dark out here as it is in there. Mistleton, you really need to install more streetlights. And maybe a generator.
Suddenly the sky filled with bright streaks of light. Then a loud crack.
Fireworks! Right. New year.
To his left, he heard voices, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying. Then to his right, he heard someone cry out.
Sam shined his light in that direction, but the beam was weak. He walked toward the cry. Occasional fireworks gave him a glimpse of the path ahead.
“Hey, are you okay?” Sam yelled.
No reply, so he kept walking on the sidewalk, shining his light left toward the road and right along the bushes.
Come on, where did you go?
“Are you hurt? Do you need help?”
Then just a few yards ahead he saw a man limping.
There you are.
“You look like you could use some help,” Sam called. “And I can help.”
The limping man looked back into the light and shouted, “Leave me alone!”
Another shower of light was very close and very loud. The man glanced up and turned. That’s when Sam noticed.
What in the world? That guy is soaking wet!
Sam shined the light on the sidewalk.
Wet footprints. What is up with that? We haven’t had rain since…
Then his flashlight went dark. Sam shook it. The light flickered on for a second, then went dark again.
Fireworks lit the night sky. Limping man was gone. Sam looked back toward the radio station. A light was shining in the window. Sam walked toward it.
He looked through the window and saw a shadowy figure moving around the studio.
Who? What are they doing?
The shadowy figure picked up a cart, put it in the cart machine, and pressed play. He turned toward the window and grinned.
The chief engineer. Of course.
Sam ran around the corner. As he walked into the studio, No Scrubs played on the speakers.
“Really, you chose that song.”
“I like it,” the chief engineer said.
“So what happened?”
“I kinda figured that part,” Sam replied. “What knocked out the power?”
“Probably a squirrel.”
“Mark my words, Steele. That will be the official statement.”
“Looks like the whole campus is dark,” Sam said. “How are we on the air?”
“Back up generator.”
“Huh. That’s cool.”
“You should probably get back to your show.”
“I guess I need to tell listeners what happened,” Sam said. “Seriously, you think it was a squirrel?”
“I wouldn’t say that if I were you. Just tell them the power went out, but we’re back and broadcasting.”
“Oh, okay,” Sam said.
“And play whatever you want,” the engineer said.
“You’ve got to take advantage of these special circumstances.”
“It’s your show, Steele.”
The chief engineer walked out of the studio just as the scrubs song ended.
Sam grabbed a cart and put it in the next slot. He was about to press the button but paused. He turned on the mic.
“I’m Sam Steele, and we are still on the air.”
Hey, I said my name. Finally got that right.
“Okay, okay, folks. I know it’s been dead air for the last few minutes. Not sure why the power went out. As far as I can tell, the whole campus is dark.”
Sam paused again. He always thought the campus was too dark every night.
Should I say that? On the air? It’s your show, Steele.
“Well, it’s kinda dark all the time with those dim lights on the sidewalk. Surely Mistleton could afford a few extra light bulbs.”
Um. Maybe that’s going a bit far.
“Anyway, we’re not here to talk about power outages. We’re here to play music. We counted down to midnight, and now it’s a new millennium! Let’s play another song.”
Sam pressed the button on the cart and flipped off the mic. As the music played, he looked for a few songs from the cart racks.
“Oh! One Week. That’s fun.”
He turned the spinning carousel.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Macarena, Mission Impossible theme.
“It’s your show, Steele. Play what you want. Ha! What else?”
Run-around. Roll to Me. This Kiss—
He lingered on the Faith Hill cart and then continued to turn the cart rack. He stopped and turned it back.
Maybe I’ll go back. Just one more time. Just tonight.
Sam added This Kiss to his stack of carts and returned to the control board.
“It’s my show,” he said as he started the next song.