Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On Air


It was impossible.  It had to be.  Blacksmiths don’t even exist anymore, do they?  But, there it was on the teleprompter as clear as black and white.  And since it was on the teleprompter, I read the story:
  
“In a piece of shocking news, authorities on the Eastern Shore have reported that 23-year-old Baltimore native, Jonathan Rogers has been found dead near his workshop in Centerville.  Rogers was allegedly crushed by his horse while engaged in a sexual act with the animal.  Rogers, a professional blacksmith, provided iron working services for many of the farmers in the area.  His exact cause of death is still under investigation.

Huh.  Well.  And now, here’s Stan Santoni with this week’s weather forecast.  Take it away Stan.”

As I shuffled and organized the papers on the expansive desk in front of me, I turned to my co-anchor, Hank, and whispered to him while elbowing his arm, “What a way to go, right?”

Hank and I had been working together side by side on the evening newscasts for nearly 12 years.  Every day we joked together off camera about the ridiculousness of the news while grateful it gave us a name and a face.  Waiting for his always quick wit, I leaned back in my swivel chair to eye him.  In my periphery, Stan motioned in front of the big green screen that most likely pictured a map of Maryland for the viewers at home.

Hank leaned in close, his strong, low voice wavering, “That was my sister’s kid.”  He paused.  “Her only child.  My nephew, my godson.”

“Oh, Christ.  Hank, I’m sorry.”  An unfamiliar mix of emotions rushed through my body.  This was not news.  This was not public information.  This was the world on its head.  This was personal pain.  And I decided to hell with it all.

“I’m not going to read that story again next hour.  More information will probably come in and they’ll add it to the script, but I’m not going to read it.”

“But Grace, what are you going to do?  What about Pete?”  Hank began to prepare his appearance for the cameras that were headed our way. 
  
“Oh, screw Pete.  He’s just my boss.  You’re family.  I am not going to splash your stuff all over the screen.  It’s just a few seconds.  I’ll fake a coughing fit or something.  I am a professional.”  I comically adjusted my glasses and smoothed down my blouse.  

“You’re a piece of work, Grace.  You really are.  And I love you for it.”

“I love you, too.”  



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This piece is a work of fiction and was inspired by this week's the speakeasy writing prompt.  For the challenge we had to (in under 500 words) use the first line, "It was impossible" and refer, in some way, to the photo above.  Click on the button below to read the prompt and the other beautiful writers who hang out there.  Thanks! 

22 comments:

  1. Such an unusual take on the prompt! Well done.

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  2. As a reader, I'm immediately left to wonder if Grace & Hank ever consider all the others who are going through that same pain, the ones they don't give the same consideration?

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    1. I don't think they have up until this possible turning point. Perhaps they even leave or consider leaving typical news anchoring because of it.

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  3. Hahahahhaha!!! I hope that was meant to be funny because I totally burst out laughing...ohhhh...a sexual act with a horse! Indeed, a horrible way to go!

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    1. Yes, it is funny! But then, what do you do if you know a victim like this?

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    2. I've often wondered about things like that. There were a couple of times back in Vegas when I really thought an anchor might be tied to the story somehow. It seemed like they were a little choked up. Made me sad for them.

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  4. Oh my! The news is often so cruel. I hope they are more thoughtful in the future about other people's stories. Nice piece!

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  5. Wow -- that was a hairpin turn... And I've always wondered how newscasters can stay unaffected by tragedy...

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    1. I think that was a compliment ;) Thanks!

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  6. I love where you went with this! Very personal.

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    1. Thanks Natalie. I hate when news is too personal.

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  7. This is so well done Kristin! Love the interaction between Hank and Grace - you really captured the intimacy of their friendship. And what a great commentary. Such a creative use of the prompts!

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    1. Thank you Suzanne. I have been finding it hard to have so few words. I am glad their relationship came through nonetheless.

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  8. So many surprises! Well done!

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  9. I love your take on the prompt! Terrific!

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    1. Thanks. I've been trying to head in slightly different directions, but am not always sure how that works out.

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  10. That was not at all what I was expecting!! Loved it. The pacing was perfect and BAM, Twist! Well done.

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  11. This is such a cool take on the prompt. I wonder whether they will go on from this as more sympathetic newscasters.

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  12. It's funny. I write sometimes for the small town paper. I was talking to the editor yesterday and I mentioned how the lead story of teenagers and a meth bust included one of the boys I remembered being in grade school with my 19 yo. She said how one of the mother's had threatened to sue the publisher. Honestly in his case, I think he thrives on stories like that. He's very much bleeding and leading. And in a small town, I'm sure plenty of mothers have come crying to him, and friends too. Your story presents an interesting dilemma. Sticking up for your personal convictions and facing the consequences. Good job.

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