The Network (Jack Logan #1) by L.C. Shaw Read Online (FREE)
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JACK LOGAN HAD DITCHED HIS CATHOLIC UPBRINGING but kept the guilt. He hadn’t planned on blowing his entire afternoon listening to the woman he was interviewing talk about her dead daughter, but he didn’t have the heart to tell the grieving mother that he already had enough for the story. So instead, he bought her lunch and dinner, listening as she painted a picture of the girl she had loved and had failed to save. Now he was behind schedule and would have to work all night. Man, he hated the pieces involving kids. The parents got to him every time, and his attempts at comforting them were as effective as a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.
It was after eight by the time he got to his East Village apartment. He sprinted up the three flights of stairs and heard his landline ringing as he approached the door. Jamming the key in the lock, he pushed the door open, rushed over, and snatched the phone, upsetting a bottle of Bass Ale and spilling the dregs on the table. He grabbed a towel to sop it up before it dripped onto the hardwood floor.
“Great.” He clicked the green button. “Yes?”
“Could you sound any more annoyed?” It was his editor.
“Sorry, Max. What’s up?” Jack sank into his worn leather sofa and ran a hand through his hair.
“Tried your cell. Went right to voice mail.”
“I was interviewing one of the mothers.”
The sound of papers rustling came from the other end of the line. “You already did your piece on the decision. What’s the angle on the follow-up?”
“The fallout from the decision to let the show go on.”
A sharp intake of breath. “You’re not saying the Supreme Court should have censored it?”
“No, no. Of course not. But the voices of the bereaved deserve to be heard.” He wasn’t much of a television watcher, but when the class action suit against the network behind Teenage Wasted had reached the Supreme Court, he’d tuned in. At first it looked just like the setup of any of the other reality shows jamming the airwaves—an eclectic group of teenagers allowing the cameras behind the scenes into their world. Within the first five minutes of the show, though, Jack had sat open-mouthed while a young man retrieved paraphernalia from under his bed, pulled up a porn site on his computer, and began doing what your average adolescent boy did behind closed doors. It was filmed so that there wasn’t any actual nudity, but it was obvious what he was doing. It wasn’t until the young man put the noose around his neck that Jack’s shock turned to horror. So that was what erotic asphyxiation looked like up close and personal.
The internet went nuts the following day and homemade videos of other kids demonstrating their own secret hobbies began to appear all over video sites. When kids started turning up dead, it really hit the fan. A class action suit was filed against Omega Entertainment Inc., the entertainment giant responsible for the new show, by the grieving families whose children had been inspired by Teenage Wasted to engage in dangerous experiments that had cost them their lives. The Supreme Court decision had been handed down a few weeks ago, to the great shock of the plaintiffs, and the show went on—more popular than ever. Omega had won the case under freedom of speech protection, which Jack couldn’t argue with, but he was disgusted by how the company executives were perverting the First Amendment for their own profit. He was happy to do his part to help tarnish Omega’s reputation.