by Liam Scheff
6 of 15×15
“And why won’t you write it?”
“Because it’s not true!” She says it with unintended force from air that pummels its way out of her lungs and guts and makes the words throaty and heavy.
Joe paces the length of the long, open desk. Rob and Kelly are at their stations, six feet on either side, clicking away, like statues with motorized fingers. Joe cocks his head. She sees him winding up. He doesn’t surprise her.
“Because,” he savors the phrase, “it’s not ‘true.’” He lets the words ring. “Well, I guess we can — lemme go tell Natalie to shut down reception because we can all go home. We’re not running a paper, we’re running a fortune-tellers’ clinic.”
She says nothing. She’s learned that much. Just waits as he goes through his gyrations. His greatest hits: “Truth and appearances of truth, getting the story, pounding the pavement, making the calls, vetting your sources,” and the bayonet at the end of the rifle: “And what does your opinion have to do with truth?”
Andie angles her head slightly. “Okay Joe. That’s all fine. But it’s…”
He’s so wound up he doesn’t let her finish. He screams out, “Don’t say it: Not True.” Rob snorts a little, because the self-congratulatory delivery is funny, not because it’s right. Andie looks at him. He keeps typing. Andie’s turn, and she goes.
“Joe, there was a fucking nuclear meltdown in Arizona. A fucking nuclear meltdown, and I’m not reporting the NRC statements as ‘fact,’ not anymore. Not since –”
“Don’t say Fukushima. Don’t say it. That is JAPAN! Andie!”
“Joe, Goddamn it, when are you going to wake up to this fucking story?”