14.1 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

Look to the obelisk. We don’t know where it came from, but it’s attracting a lot of cats. Welcome to Night Vale.

14.2 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

Happy New Year, Night Vale!  Last night’s fireworks extravaganza at the Night Vale Harbor and Waterfront Recreation Area was beautiful.  This is despite the fact that the Night Vale Harbor and Waterfront Recreation Area never really existed, and was in no way a multi-million dollar failure of municipal planning.  And just because the only things remaining on the premises are several large piles of rubble and a red sign reading “NOTHING IS HERE.  NOTHING WAS EVER HERE” does not mean that they failed to correctly use tax dollars to build a harbor, a waterfront, or a recreation area.  Anyway, the fireworks over the city-made sign were lovely. Happy 2013.

14.3 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

Ladies and gentlemen, surely you have noticed. There’s a man in a tan jacket.

Countless residents have seen him, but no one can seem to remember exactly what he looks like. Just that he has a tan jacket and a deerskin suitcase, and he has been spotted all over town. But no one can quite recall specifically where they saw him, or what time of day it was. Just that they saw him. Frances Donaldson, the tall woman with the green eyes who manages the antiques mall, thinks maybe the Man in the Tan Jacket is simply a shared dream. But I know I saw him, Night Vale. I know what I saw. This man couldn’t possibly be a dream. He was so vivid. His eyes were… well, his nose, and his chin… oh, I can just see! I just can’t remember. The man was clear as day! He had a tan jacket, and a deerskin suitcase. He can’t be a dream, can he? Please, call in, listeners, and let us know if you can remember anything else.

14.4 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

This Monday through Friday is the annual Night Vale Career Fair at the downtown Convention Center. There will be dozens of booths, representing phony local businesses that will take your résumés and photos, via hidden surveillance cameras, and conduct sample interviews designed to badger you into implicating yourself in nefarious activities. First-generation Night Vale residents, particularly those whose parents were originally born in Maine, Massachusetts, Canada, Micronesia, and Suriname, are strongly encouraged to attend. This year’s keynote speaker is an audio tape of droning moans, leaden with subliminal tips about achieving personal prosperity, and how to come clean about the terrible things you have done, you cretin.

Last year’s fair featured several very high-profile arrests, and exciting door prizes. Tickets are $25, or $15 if you still have working retinas to scan.

14.5 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

Over the weekend, Teddy Williams, owner of the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex, sent us some security camera footage of what he believes to be the first-ever glimpse of citizens of the underground city deep below Lane Five. Early Saturday morning, Fun Complex cameras picked up blurry motion near the soda machine.

The footage is quite fuzzy and difficult to discern. Perhaps it is merely rats or raccoons, digging through an uncovered supply of junk food, but it is, of course, much more likely that a lost nation of people, living in the bowels of a small-town bowling alley, are finally revealing themselves, taking our food supplies, and preparing for war.

Teddy told us that he believes this city to be thousands strong and ready to move into Night Vale, ready to take arms against the ‘upper world’ as they probably call us, ready to conquer this heaven and become the righteous owners of our sun-soaked precious land, we assume. It takes very little extrapolation to believe that they worship a god called Hunto-Karr, who demands sacrifice to keep their underground city thriving in the absence of nourishing sunlight, and a fair assumption is they are ruled by a child-king, recently coronated, who is too weak to rein back the generals intent on marching upon us in war.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you care for your community, your town, your Night Vale like I do, you will arm yourselves. You will rally your neighbors to militia. You will point fingers at those who do not wish to fight and have them rounded up into pens. This is no time for the weak. We are at a presumptive war with a projected enemy whom we cannot see, or even be certain of, but who are probably bloodthirsty giants. If you would like to learn more about starting a militia, simply learn to be a true American. That’s how you’ll know.

And remember, Night Vale is at war. Your careless talk costs lives. They know we are here, and it seems somebody talked. Who was it, Night Vale? Was it Steve Carlsberg? Did Steve Carlsberg talk? Maybe a group of good citizens should go have a chat with Steve and find out what he’s been saying, and to whom. Stay by your radios, listeners. We will report further as events warrant.

14.6 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

More now on the Man in the Tan Jacket. Old Woman Josie called to tell us that her angel friends are saying that the deerskin suitcase is full of flies. The angels would not tell her more, explaining that knowing more would jeopardize her eternal soul, as well as their own statuses as angels. They did not want to mess with that.

Old Woman Josie added that she thinks the Man in the Tan Jacket is just a salesman of some sort, a fly salesman she bets, wandering from town to town with polished shoes and a suitcase full of flies.

“Oh, I just can’t stand those fly salesmen,” she said, “ringing my doorbell at three AM wanting to show me samples and asking for glasses of orange milk.”

14.7 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

The Night Vale Daily Journal has announced that, despite cost-cutting measures and mandatory subscription laws, it is facing a huge budget shortfall this year.

“We cannot pay back our printers, or our delivery crews,” said editor Leann Hart, in a prepared statement whispered through my mail slot late last night. “And we have already had to banish much of our staff into the sand wastes of the desert.”

She went on to explain that this ‘budget shortfall’ has nothing to do with the reported lavish birthday party she threw for herself in Night Vale Stadium, featuring a lazy river made entirely of champagne, and a birthday cake topped with very thin slices of moon rock. In an addendum she tapped in Morse code on my bathroom window, she said that the Journal is considering all new sources of income, including creating additional advertising space and mugging Night Vale citizens, and that I shouldn’t mention the whole birthday party thing after all… because she was never even born, so how could she have had a birthday party? She spent the rest of the night tapping out the phrase ‘Birthdays are a fake idea,’ which actually was a pretty relaxing sound to fall asleep to.

14.8 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

Hey, kids and parents! Time once again for our Children’s Fun Fact Science Corner! Today, we are exploring common birds and their meanings. An eagle indicates that an important phone call is impending. A sparrow says that you should beware the sea, and sell any stocks invested in food-based companies. A pigeon means that your mother has died, or that all is well. It’s a bit uncertain. A hummingbird tells us that the physical constants of the universe are slowly degrading, and may someday shift, invalidating the laws of physics and instantly wiping out the universe as we know it while simultaneously creating an entirely new universe in a single transcendent moment of genocide and genesis. As for hawks, well. No one knows what hawks mean, or if they are real. Have you ever even seen a hawk? Of course not. No one has.

This has been our Children’s Fun Fact Science Corner!

14.9 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

And now, a word from our sponsors. Today’s program has been sponsored by the physical act of gulping. For thousands of years, gulping has been there for human beings when they needed an expressive gesture of the throat. Whether you want to express nervousness about an upcoming test or appointment, fear of the Faceless Old Woman who lives secretly in your home, or just want to ingest milk faster than with regular swallowing, gulping is the way to go.

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[A loud gulping noise.]

14.10 – The Man In The Tan Jacket

This just in: the Sheriff’s Secret Police has just issued an important request related to our earlier story. They ask that all Night Vale citizens be on the lookout for a man in a tan jacket, carrying a deerskin suitcase. He is about five or six foot something, probably with hair, and normal human features.

He was last seen early this morning on the unlit, gravel-paved stretch of Oak Trail, near Larry Leroy’s house, out on the edge of town. The Man in the Tan Jacket was reportedly seen in the moonless black, standing next to a refrigerator engulfed in flames. He was smoking a cigarette. Witnesses claimed he stared at them as they slowly drove by on the darkened country road, but despite the prolonged eye contact, the witnesses still could not describe his face to police.

Two days prior, the Man in the Tan Jacket was seen standing in a park. No one can remember which park, but they were fairly certain it was a park. Or, maybe, it was in the Old Navy outlet store or near the invisible clock tower, it wasn’t quite clear. Either way, the man was definitely standing with his deerskin suitcase, and staring up at the sun for hours. He followed the bizarre glowing orb, which is somehow the source of all light and life, and– “OH GOD, the sun, are you kidding us with this thing? We don’t even have time for that mystery!” the Secret Police then interjected. Secret Police officials added that if you see a man in a tan jacket carrying a deerskin suitcase, write down what you see immediately.

The City Council has temporarily lifted their ban on pens and pencils, so that citizens can help law enforcement on this matter. Once you write down your encounter, call 911 immediately, or simply say, “Hey, police!” out loud. We’re all being monitored almost 24/7, so they’ll probably hear you just fine.