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EXCERPT: “The Phantom of the Podcast”

July 27, 2020 in Patreon, Writing

Forecasts call for a heat wave this week in Kamloops, which means that there’s no better time to drop a my latest Patreon-exclusive story, “The Phantom of the Podcast”. This month I wrote a great true crime podcast-inspired piece for you all, and it is a fun time for everyone.

Patrons can read “The Phantom of the Podcast” now, while intigued parties can join my Patreon at the $5 Short Stories tier to get access to this and all my other Patreon Stories.

After two and a half years of interviewing hybristophiliacs on his Dear Murderer podcast, paranoid host Mitchell finds himself at odds with his growing fanbase. Then he meets his new guest, Megan, a talented theatre actress who shows him the ropes of exploitation.

THE PHANTOM OF THE PODCAST: An Excerpt

“Dear Mitchell,” I read. “I’ve been a longtime listener of Dear Murderer. I find your interviews thrilling. I feel like you know me. I feel like you’re talking to me. You might get intimate in your line of questioning but it makes me feel put on the spot in the right kind of way. My favourite serial killer is Robert Pickton. I wish I could explain myself to you. All the best, Megan.”

It’s not a real letter.

I wrote it to sound like a real letter, because all the real letters are full of the same thing over and over, women begging me to acknowledge them, to interview them, to make them the next featured guest on the show.

The first season of Dear Murderer featured them. Real women.

They liked Ted Bundy even despite his smugness. They liked Richard Ramirez even though his teeth were nasty. They liked Jeffrey Dahmer even though he exclusively raped and murdered boys. They liked to get detailed, admitting that if they were in Karla Homolka’s shoes that they’d let Paul Bernardo rape their little sister too.

I got a Phantom of the Opera mask for recording, meant to keep my identity a secret, but the women enjoyed it, the mysteriousness, the supposed danger.
I just wanted to know why hybristophilia was a thing but then that thing manifested.

I wanna meet you.

I feel like you know me.

Your voice gives me such a wide-on.

The podcast needed variety, needed depth. I couldn’t talk about Charles Manson anymore. I wrote scripts. I hired actresses. We’d discuss the script and record in a motel room under a non-disclosure agreement. The mask unnerved the actresses. They gave a better performance under pressure, emotion cutting into the words on the page.

I thought the audience would change but it didn’t.

Some of the actresses became fans themselves. They kept my secrets, sent me messages, sent me nudes.

I don’t read many of the comments anymore. I know what they say, what they want. They’re just women climbing up from the depths, hoping to amuse me.
Most nights I spend in front of the computer watching recorded stage plays and theatre actress demo reels. One might say that I stalk actresses now, but I’m just looking for the good ones, the ones who can get raw and mentally exposed. I like it when their voices shake the way I want them to.

I never miss The Vagina Monologues.

The most honest of actresses end up putting on a proper show.

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Rebecca

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her blog at rebeccajoneshowe.com.

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I'm Rebecca Jones-Howe, a neo-noir writer and author of the short story collection, VILE MEN. My work has been featured in [PANK], Pulp Modern and Punchnel's, among other magazines. This site houses my writing profile and my blog, which features posts on writing, fashion, lifestyle + more. Want more?

- RJH

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