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Secret Blotter

Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% false memories of what you think happened to you. Welcome to Night Vale.

In an effort to bring more transparency to the Sheriff's Secret Police, a chronicle of one night's dispatches will be released to the public. This action comes at the behest of the City Council, who voted unanimously on a resolution to ban plastic bags. While those two things may not seem related, Sheriff Sam misunderstood the vote as a rallying cry against tyrannical surveillance, and a personal threat involving being thrown into the pit of vipers behind the bowling alley. Sheriff Sam, who has a paralyzing fear of vipers, proposed a compromise in which Secret Police dispatches would be temporarily divulged so the public can get a better idea of what the agency does and how tax dollars are being spent, a plan which was readily accepted by the council, though they continued to roll their eyes and gnash their teeth and chant softly “Viper pit. Viper pit. Blessed be the viper pit.” which is just how they express a “yay” vote on procedural issues.

As a result, Night Vale has its first ever police blotter. Let's dig in.

9:00 PM. Missing person reported inside the Ralphs. Night manager on duty says employee went to stock some cases of Lime-A-Ritas in the new walk-in Beer Cave and never came out. Reporting officer thoroughly checked Beer Cave and confirmed it was deserted. Three cases of the beverage were left haphazardly in the middle of the floor and a loading dolly was tipped over onto its side. Manager states employee originally brought in four cases. Manager added one missing case of Lime-A-Ritas to the report. When asked if this kind of thing has happened before, manager changed subject and asked if officer would like to look at some of the children's drawing contest submissions. Officer was amenable to this request.

9:16 PM. Noise complaint. Dog barking in an unknown language, annoying residents. Dirty white fur, human face. Gone when officer arrived on scene.

9:25 PM. Two underaged residents attempted to sneak into an R-rated movie by pretending to be one tall person in a trench coat. When confronted by officer, they turned into a swarm of flies and dispersed.

10:01 PM. Noise complaint. A sound resembling television static was being emitted from a shower drain out in the Hefty Sycamore Trailer Park. When recorded and played backwards, it turned out to be a broadcast from a 1952 episode of the game show “Beat the Clock” where contestants competed to see how many pieces they could smash a clock into. A plumber was called.

10:55 PM. A resident of Desert Creek searched for “easy tortellini recipes” but none of them were easy enough. It was so late already and they needed to get to bed soon but they were also very hungry and needed to eat dinner first. They wanted something quick but they also wanted a real dinner, not a false dinner, like cereal. They became hyper-aware that the more they deliberated on what to make, the longer it was all taking, and factoring in the decision-making time on top of the meal prep time was becoming additionally stressful in relation to the desire to get to bed soon.

11:30 PM. A Coyote Corners swimming pool filled with blood and began swirling furiously in a counter-clockwise direction. Homeowner appeared distressed. Officer advised homeowner to drain pool.

11:31 PM. Multiple residents awoke in a cold sweat from the same dream. It wasn't necessarily a nightmare but it was definitely not pleasant. The only thing they could recall afterwards was that it was snowing, and there was a tree with seven limbs.

12:00 AM. Witches.

2:00 AM. That time of night when everything starts getting hazy. Were you headed to a crime? Checking a surveillance station? Listening to a wire tap? Going home? Returning to headquarters? Signaling an invisible helicopter? Sometimes you lose track. An old local legend comes into your mind, and you try to recall the details. It's been so long since you've heard it. You watch the headlights bounce along the dirt road ahead and your eyes begin to play tricks on you, sensing movement in the dark margins where the light doesn't penetrate. You turn off the lights and slow the vehicle. They weren't tricks after all. There is movement here, a dark writhing mass entering the roadway. You are forced to stop the car. Eyes flash open in the dark, many sets of eyes. This isn't part of a half-remembered legend. This is something very very real.

More of the blotter soon, but first let’s have a look at traffic.

You're hunting in a pack near the old highway. The smell of blood is in the air. Headlights bounce over the rise and your stomachs rumble. The moon flees behind the clouds and you fan out along both sides of the road, moving parallel to it like a lazy river. The car approaches and slows. It shuts off its headlights as you knew it would. Some of you push ahead of the car, blocking its path. Others move to the rear, and others remain at the sides, boxing it in. You converge, surrounding it more tightly. The door opens then closes again, the fleshy creature inside cursing softly. You hear a crackle of radio static but you know it is inconsequential to you. You consume the metal shell first. There are explosions of air and the hiss of leaking fluids. Then the glass, crunchy and cool in your collective gullet. And finally the screaming delicacy in the center—the cloth-wrapped package of meat and bone. There are other things afterward, less enjoyable but consumable nonetheless—papers and electronics and pleather and cold french fries in a bag. Nothing must remain. By the time the moon emerges from the clouds, the old highway will be deserted once more.

This has been traffic.

And now, a word from our sponsors.

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This has been a word from our sponsors.

Back to the Sheriff's Secret Police Blotter.

2:30 AM. Responded to an officer distress call on the old highway. No sign of officer or vehicle found. Must have been a false alarm.

3:15 AM. Nude man ranting in middle of old highway, carrying a case of alcoholic beverages. Identified as the nightshift stocker at the Ralphs. Claims he entered the walk-in refrigerator at work, reached up to place the case of beverages on a shelf, and abruptly found himself in a network of ice caves. He eventually climbed up a snowy mountain where he met a robed figure he refers to as “the oracle”. The oracle foretold of a hungry darkness with a thousand eyes, and urged that the portal must be closed. The Ralphs employee also reported that the oracle had slurred speech and seemed unsteady on its feet, and may have been inebriated. After this exchange, he then found himself standing in the Sand Wastes, nude. He does not know where his clothes are. Officer escorted man back to the Ralphs to finish out his shift.

3:35 AM. Domestic disturbance. “He won't stop practicing the flute,” a Cactus Bloom resident reported, indicating his doppelganger who stood in the corner of the bedroom, staring unblinkingly at the wall, and playing the same halting scale on a wooden flute. Officer advised resident to take a melatonin and try to get some sleep. “If he doesn't stop, I can't be held responsible,” the sleep-deprived resident threatened. “Sounds fair,” the officer agreed and left the premises.

4:00 AM. An alarm clock went off in Old Town. A woman attempted to get out of bed but her cat walked sleepily onto her person and began purring, preventing her from rising. Her cat is elderly and the woman knows its number of purrs are finite and must be honored. Eventually she put on coffee and took a shower. She used Herbal Solutions shampoo for a lifelong dandruff condition, though she has not seen any improvement after years of using the product. She continues using it because she likes the way it smells. It smells medicinal, like it's helping. And it does tingle, like the label promises. “The tingle means it's working,” the label says. So it must be working.

And now, a break from the police blotter for some sports news.

Night Vale High School (go Scorpions!) has added a concession stand to be used during sporting events. The Parent Teacher Association proudly unveiled the new stand at last week's baseball game, dedicating the plywood structure to the memory of favorite AP auto shop teacher Nick Teller. Teller reacted with confusion at this news, as he is still alive. “Of course you are!” the PTA responded awkwardly, “But we just wanted to honor your memory. As in, what a great memory you have. You know how you're really good at remembering stuff? We just wanted to, yeah, honor that,” the PTA went on, seemingly unable to stop explaining themselves, while trying to stand in front of the dedication plaque, which featured several doves, a Celtic cross, and an image of clasped hands. Teller admitted he does have an excellent memory and is very honored. The following concessions are available at the Teller Memorial Stand: special allowances, the granting of rights, the acceptance of certain things as truth, the yielding of certain other things as untruth. Also RC Cola and popcorn.

Which reminds me, we actually have another word from our sponsors: Royal Crown Cola. Invented by Ferdinand the 1st, King of Naples, who built a museum of mummies inside his palace to house the bodies of his slain enemies. “I am parched from building this museum of mummies!” he famously said, and the rest is history. RC Cola. The drink of ruthless monarchs.

In local news, I have the results of the Ralphs Drawing Contest. Local school children were encouraged to submit a drawing to the store this week depicting their favorite Ralphs product. I'll start with the runners up. The third place drawing comes to us from Ella Snyder, a student from Night Vale Elementary, and it shows a large black scribbled mass with a lot of eyes in it, with the Ralphs building on fire in the background. Very creative, Ella! The second place drawing comes from Jace McCoy, also from Night Vale Elementary, and this one also shows a black mass with many eyes, and a big bright red splatter of blood across the page. Nice use of color, Jace. And the grand prize winner comes to us from Heather Fath-Azam (fah-tha-zahm) of Dagger's Plunge Charter School. Her drawing features a beautiful black mass with lots of lovely eyes, and it's holding a box of store brand frozen pizza rolls. Congratulations Heather!

Back to the blotter.

4:01 AM. Distress call from the Ralphs. Upon arrival, officer was pulled into the manager's office. The employee from the earlier incident was also present, huddled under a desk. Manager frantically indicated the surveillance window that looks out into the store, which he normally uses to spy on shoppers and report on what they are wearing for his customer fashion newsletter. Shelves of products were being knocked over and consumed by a vast dark nothingness. The back of the store then burst into flames. The manager implored the officer to quote “do something, please, or we'll all be killed!” Officer used the intercom system to tell the nothingness to vacate the store immediately and advised it of trespass and vandalism laws. The nothingness took the form of many dark shapes with many eyes. A tank of fresh seafood exploded and numerous shellfish were damaged. Officer advised the shapes that they were all under arrest. “Stop talking to it!” the manager cried and knocked the intercom mic out of the officer's hand. Approximately one thousand eyes turned to look at the office window.

Interesting. Well, let’s have a look at that weather.

["Best Friends" by Curtains]

4:35 AM. Situation escalated at the Ralphs. Officer, manager, and employee embraced one another under the office desk amidst the shattered glass of the surveillance window. The building trembled around them, products flew through the air, half the inventory was sucked into oblivion, and a great fire blazed, spreading to the bakery section. After doing an estimated $200,000 dollars worth of damage, the darkness and its many eyes entered the Beer Cave and did not come back out. Officer investigated the Beer Cave and found it to be empty. “You have to shut down the Cave,” the Ralphs employee implored the manager. “That's its doorway to our world.” The manager hedged and responded that a big heat wave was coming and if they hoped to recoup any of their losses, keeping the Beer Cave open was going to be instrumental to the store's survival. “People will spend big on frosty cold beverages,” the manager reasoned. “Not to mention they're gonna like standing around in there for a nice cool-down.”

The employee wrapped his robe tightly around himself. The manager had leant him the robe, one of the many fashion items the manager kept in his collection, since the employee still didn’t know where his clothes had gone. “Ok,” the employee said. He picked up a Lime-A-Rita that had been knocked onto the floor, and guzzled it down in one continuous gulp. Then he said, his voice already a little slurred: “I’ll have to try to stop it myself.” He ran into the Beer Cave and promptly vanished.

5:40 AM. Tree with seven limbs seen growing out of the hole in the vacant lot out back of the Ralphs. Snow observed on the branches, which melted off quickly as the sun rose.

5:45 AM. Real pretty sunrise.

That concludes our Secret Police Blotter report. I don't know about the rest of you, but I personally feel a lot more safe and secure getting a closer look at what our Secret Police do. On behalf of Night Vale Community Radio—thank you for your service. I'm sure we will all rest a lot easier knowing that our fate is in your hands, our sleeping bodies are under your watchful eye, and our every thought and action is being monitored for the greater good.

As Secret Police mascot Barks Ennui always says: “Stay tuned, stay vigilant, report your neighbors! Woof woof!”

Goodnight, Night Vale. Goodnight.

Today’s proverb: Six out of seven dentists have no idea where that seventh one disappeared to. Honest, they all have rock-solid alibis and that blood could've belonged to anyone.

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