[previous chapter] [start from the beginning] “So, Mr. Toussignant,” Jason said, by way of introduction. “My name is Jason and I work for the CBC, with Carla Laframboise. Unfortunately she is unable to come visit you herself at this time; as you know she is really busy with the corruption scandal story.
“Yes, you’re the guys who ignored me until Global talked about me on TV, I see. What can I do for you now?” The smirk on Jeff’s face was hard to miss.
Jason didn’t like how this was going, but he did his best not to let his face show it too much.
“Well, actually,” he smiled, “I don’t mind telling the truth. I got chewed up pretty bad for not being the first out with your story, so you can go ahead and mock me for that if you like but just so you know it doesn’t hurt me very much anymore.”
Jeff thought about it for a second. The kid has some spunk. Interesting. “Alright,” he said, “if we’re going to be honest with each other here’s mine: I didn’t like the report Global did on my story and I’d like a better one. Something less… sensational.”
Wow, Jason thought. He’s either making fun of me or he’s for real. But which is it? He made some very quick mental calculations and came to the conclusion that he didn’t have much to lose for trusting this accused murderer, at least for a few minutes. If it turns out he’s lying, he figured, I’ll find out soon enough and won’t be much worse off.
Jason perked right up. “Funny you should mention that; I watched that report a few times on my way here and I was thinking just the same thing. I thought it was both sensationalist and trite. Not to beat up on the competition too hard, but I found myself less informed after watching this report than I was before it started.”
“You did, eh. That’s too bad, because I gave that reporter a whole whack more than what she used in her report. I knew they edited, but I didn’t realize the editing job would be quite so bad. Anyway, you’re right, that TV report did not give viewers much information about my case.”
“Do you want to give it again to me? I am not very big on the totem pole, but I can do my best to represent your story right.”
“You mean high on the totem pole, not big. But in actual fact you mean low since the most important figure on the totem is the one at the bottom. People get that wrong all the time.”
“Ah. Fascinating. But my point remains: I can’t make promises about the editing or anything like that, but I can promise to give it my best shot. I will most likely not be the one telling your story on screen; mostly I’m here to do the legwork for Carla…”
“Oh? So maybe I can hope to be graced by her presence at some point?”
Jason couldn’t help but smile at that. “Yeah, she’s very popular, isn’t she. Especially now with this corruption scandal. Her ratings are through the roof. No wonder she has little people like me doing a lot of the small boring stuff for her…” Jason realized his mistake, but only too late.
“So I’m small and boring now?”
“That’s not what I said!”
“No, you didn’t quite say that. You merely implied it. I work with words, too, you know. I pick up on them pretty quick.”
“Yes, I know. I’m sorry, OK? That’s not what I meant.”
“OK, Jason. Let’s let this one go. Now what do we do?”
“That’s where I hit a bit of a jam. My editor – the one who chewed me up pretty bad – wants me to blow him away. He wants me to find a different angle to your story that would let us regain the lead on it.”
“Well, technically, since you never had the lead on that story you can’t regain it, but I think I see what you mean.”
Jeez, Jason thought to himself, he’s worse that my 10th grade French teacher.
He forced another smile. “Yes, I guess that’s what I meant.”
“I guess so too. And since we are getting good now at making sure you say what you mean, maybe I can help you write your story?”
“Are you joking?”
“Not at all. You have a job to do, which is to wrestle the lead on my story away from the competition, and I have a big interest in seeing my story portrayed properly in the media because I believe what I have to say applies to a lot of people and I want them to get the warning not to treat their kids the way my parents treated me. I don’t have much to lose by helping you write your story right, and the way I see it you don’t have much to lose either by letting me help you. Am I right, or am I right?”
“Well, if I muff this story I will probably lose my job. Maybe that’s not much to you, but it means something to me.”
“Oh really? How much does it mean to you to lose a job where most of what you do is chase details for the popular TV people? Say you write my story properly and it gets the attention I think it deserves but you lose your job because Mr. Cranky-Ass Editor isn’t blown away to his august satisfaction. How much trouble you think you’d have finding another job – a better one where you’d be the one on television, not hiding behind the stars – with a story like that under your belt?”
Yeah, he may be a scary murderer, but he sure ain’t crazy. “Huh-huh, I guess I see your point.”
“So that’s a yes, then? Great! Sit down, let’s get started.”