Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Baltimore Drive-by, Part VIII: After overwrought heartstring-tugger, anguished journalist asks, "Why?"

Ex-journalist Nix Kauffman flees Baltimore ahead of two authors with crime on their minds. But don't believe a word he says. It's fiction. It never happened.

The waiter brought another round. "Cheerio, mates!"

"Knob!" muttered Romar, but he said it with affection; the waiter's English accent was good. Or maybe it just sounded that way to me. After six gin and tonics, my head had become a giant buzzing wad of wet cotton. The waiter might have sounded Australian. Or from the Midwest.

"You got a few hours?" I asked – Romar, not the waiter – "because I'll tell you."

"Tell it!"

"One night I'm in the sports department, and this story says the Ravens' quarterback shattered his knee. Thing is, he'd torn a ligament. Torn, not shattered! So I tell the night editor, but he looks at me like I was from Mars. Then this reporter says, `It's a matter of semantics.'"

I smacked the table as hard as Romar had. "Well, yeah, it goddamn was. Semantics. Meaning. You figure out what you want to say, you choose the right word, you say it."

"Let me guess who this night editor was: Your old friend, Mr. Honoré ."

"Too damn right. Same Honoré who became editor twelve years later and fired my ass. Said I showed him up in front of President Obama." I slumped back in the metal lawn chair and took a contemplative sip of gin.

"An outrage, my friend. Obama was only running for president when you showed Honoré up."

This was a man I could work with.

(Read all of "The Baltimore Drive-by" so far here.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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