SPLIT

A famous DJ isn't all that he seems...

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1. New chapter

Split

Vivian Beaufrere sat in his radio studio about to go on air. The recent sharp drop in his ratings was a source of deep concern to him. Nonetheless, he maintained a brave face in front of his team who sat watching him through the glass of their adjacent booth.

Beaufrere’s brave face extended to cracking jokes with his guest of the morning, Lydia Morten, to put her at her ease. Lydia headed an organisation that helped the victims of crime—specifically the spouses and partners of murder victims—to get back on their feet post-tragedy.

Often described in newspaper colour pieces as the “consummate pro”, a smiling Beaufrere touched Lydia lightly on the shoulder whilst imparting a comment of such hilarity that she creased up laughing. Vivian had his guest just where he wanted her and knew that she would work well for him.

Following the last set of disastrous figures, Beaufrere and the team had gone into emergency conclave determined to find ways to stanch the haemorrhage of listeners. After much blue-sky thinking, not to mention thinking outside the box, they had elected upon several key strategies to win back their lost audience. For one thing, it was decided to place an increased emphasis on crime stories on the show. After all, Joe and Josephine Public lapped up crime related tales with relish. Public galleries in courtrooms were full on a daily basis, true crime flew off the shelves in newsagents, and major trials were followed eagerly by the populace, proving to be huge talking points in offices, factories, farms and anywhere else one cared to mention.

Hence, the presence of Lydia Morten in the studio today. Her own husband had died horrifically at the hands of carjackers. Beaufrere hoped to get her to open up on the gory details, knowing that such an outcome would be a definite ratings booster.

The producer signalled that there was ten seconds left till they went on air and began mouthing the countdown through the glass partition. Presently, the red light lit up and the show was live.

In the smooth voice for which he was famed, Vivian Beaufrere coaxed an exceptionally candid and informative interview from Lydia Morten. She gave plenty of grisly detail about her husband’s death. Enough to keep the listeners enthralled, Beaufrere thought, who saw the interview as the beginning of his journey back to popularity. Coming off air, he returned to his office with a pep in his step.

As he was going through emails, his iPhone rang. His sister Maxine was on the line from Jamaica where she was holidaying. She was extremely distressed and told him that her husband George had been shot dead in a mugging.

“Listen, Maxine,” Beaufrere hissed. “I don’t give two hoots what’s happened to George. Don’t call me on this number again—ever!”

He rang off and clicked onto his website. Beaufrere spent the rest of the morning gazing adoringly at pictures of himself.

© Brian Ahern 2011

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