"Look, dammit, all I am sayin' is that you should reconsider this. That's all. Just think twice, okay?"
"Ya know, we have known each other for like, forever. And yet, I am havin' trouble remembering exactly when it was that you turned into a freakin' nancyboy. When was that, do you remember? Or does your wussiness erase your memory, too?"
"Very funny. What I have been tryin' to get through to you, nitwit, is that he is not someone that you mess with, okay? He is what is known as 'a one-call guy.' With one phone call, he can ice you. Period."
"Ya know, you watch too many of those direct-to-video movies on cable. You actually believe some of that shit."
"Imma tellin' you, man, fuckin' with him will only lead to trouble. I've seen it before."
"Look, I have the story. I have the corroboration. I have the facts. I am not putting this in some desk drawer. This could really make my career, dude. And you are not goin' to scare me into keepin' it in some file folder."
"Whatever, man. Just don't say that I did not try to warn you if you wake up with two broken kneecaps. Just sayin'."
"Lookit, I gotta go and file this with my editor, okay. I'll see you later at Shorty's for a few drinks."
"Okay, man, but please, be careful."
"Yeah, I'll be real careful. See ya later."
The exposé, which connected the city councilman to a prostitution ring that the district attorney had been trying to crack for over a year, ran in the next day's paper. From the minute that the paper hit the streets, and its website, the phones chirped and the email inboxes lit up. The district attorney held a press conference at 9:00 a.m., vowing to pursue the case in light of the new information. At 10:00 a.m., the councilman held his own news conference, denying all of the allegations contained in the story, and vowing to fight to clear his name of any wrongdoing. The district attorney also put a team of four detectives out to tail the reporter, and note his every movement.
The councilman left the city on a previously scheduled trip to Washington, DC to lobby for additional federal aid for the city's homeless initiative. He was filmed by a local television station boarding his flight to the nation's capital. Later, an affiliate television station in Washington interviewed him on the scandal as well as the purpose of his trip.
At Shorty's later that day, Marty glances nervously at his watch as he waits to see Rick walk in the front door. Rick was rarely late, and given his big story, it makes Marty nervous that he has not yet arrived. Marty stares at the television footage of the councilman, and wishes that Rick had taken his advice, and backed off on the story. No fuckin' way that he is gonna take this layin' down, Marty thinks as he watches.
Just as he is about to call Rick to find out where he is, Rick walks in the front door.
"Man, I was just about to call you. Where have you been?"
"Enjoying the celebrity status down at the newsroom. I got a raise, and an office."
"Yeah, well let's hope that you live to enjoy both."
"Ya know, you have a vivid imagination."
"Yeah, and it has saved my sorry ass more times than I can count. And here is what my imagination is currently tellin' me: see those two dudes at the table near the front door? They really perked up when you walked in."
"Eh, my editor told me not to be surprised if the DA doesn't have me followed. He wants my sources, he wants to know who I meet, and who I talk to."
"Okay, fine, wiseguy. Then what about the two behind us, who shuffled their feet every time I got up to go take a leak?"
"Maybe the DA has lots of spare hands, and he sent four. Relax."
Right after Rick's drink arrives, there are several flashes of light from behind his and Marty's table, and thunderous noises, followed immediately by several flashes of light from the front of the bar, with more thunderous noises.
"Holy hell," Marty says as he picks himself up from the floor, "can you believe that they missed us completely?"
"No, I can't," says Rick as he struggles to his feet, "but they sure didn't miss each other."
"Well, I warned you about that story, man."
"Ya, so much for your imagination."
March 1, 2010.
Copyright © 2010, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.