By quarter to noon, I was on story idea number 42. Okay, maybe not 42, but after h-o-u-r-s of phone tag, two Krispy Kremes lifted from the break room and heaps of derision from my assistant news director, I’d pretty much lost count. In the parlance of the newsroom, my assignments ‘fell through’. Instantaneous investigations, gauzy feel goods, an early angle on last minute shopping; every notion I tried to shore up with a few phone calls collapsed under the scantest of inspections. Few things are more demoralizing - especially when giddy superiors are taking side bets on what urban myth I’d eventually be forced to televise. Scrunching down in my news cube, I worked the horn like a sinking sailor, but every story idea drifted just out of reach, Dead in the Water. Other terms I learned in the Navy drifted through my mind as Bateson ambled by. “What up, Stew? No band camps to cover?” Smiling weakly, I shot the Canadian an international digit as yet another PR flack told me my producers were high on paint fumes. I didn’t doubt that, but if I couldn’t conjure up something to point a camera at, I might find myself part of that scrum at the City’s insipid crime meeting later in the day. Debriefed, beaten and nearly defeated, I slumped in my chair and pulled up the Led Zeppelin clip on YouTube. Page and Plant were just getting sweaty when, for probably the twenty-fifth time this morning, the cell phone on my hip began to vibrate. Never taking my eyes off the Hammer of the Gods, I flipped open the phone without much thought.
"Yeah, hi - this is Lisa over at Glenwood. I know this is last minute, but the art students are putting up sculptures in the park ---"
"Sculptures in the park? SCULPTURES IN THE PARK? Hells bells, lady - why didn’t you say so?"
At that point I lost track of all dialogue as familiar convulsions racked my body. Scribbling down the address, I thanked my savior and hung up on her in mid-sentence. Bounding from my desk, I couldn’t resist a victory lap, so I ran up and down the aisles of el Ocho’s newsroom like a jacked up housewife on the Price is Right.
Of course it didn’t really get weird until I lost my tube-top.