Saturday, July 4, 2009

Somewhere in the Blackness of the City a Dog Yelled ...

OK, so I send this photo of the 1989 Alpha Romeo convertible (that my daughter is passing along to her dad*) to my partner in Valley Business FRONT, and he sends back the following missive. This is why I love working with this guy:<

debonair–[adjective] Dan Smith in an Alpha Romeo

Example: The white convertible pulled into the lot. Flat and cracked asphalt. A stark contrast and more accepting of the rusted LTD sedan and occasional police cruiser.

Another Saturday night. Another murder.

The debonair city editor, steps out purposefully, grabbing his fedora from the seat beside him in robotic fashion, as if he’d done this a million times. Snatching his memo pad he flips it open while striding up to Lieutenant Fletcher, nearly snapping the yellow police tape.

“Victim of circumstance or stupidity?,” he blurts out, ignoring the television news crew blasting its large spotlight on one lovely Michelle Sartonni, the metro’s favorite news anchor (among males 15 to 65). The editor already knew the crumpled body was either the clerk or the robber. Innocent bystanders seemed to disappear at this hour.

“Get in line, Smitty,” the cop replies, adjusting his uniform as the television light cut a path toward the crime scene.

Fletcher and Editor Smith both knew the reply was a public announcement, in front of the gathering crowd. Like the gleaming white Alpha Romeo among the more utilitarian vehicles at the liquor store lot, Smith was not the usual news hack. He would get the exclusive. He knew it. Lieutenant Fletcher knew it.

The next morning, metro citizens would read about another murder at a liquor store. But not on Smith’s blog. Smith’s readers would feel the impact of the hot lead, sinking into a young man’s chest. Fired from a cold blue steel 38. They would see the angle of death and splattered trajectory of senselessness.

Exactly forty-seven minutes later, a door shuts. A hat gets placed methodically in the passenger’s seat. And a topless, nearly silent, sleek white car leaves the scene of the crime. And the launching pad of yet another story. Of life. Of death.

Fletcher watched the car disappear down 14th Avenue, the white fading out as a neon donut shop sign took over. He looked over and saw the lovely Michelle getting into the front seat of the van as the On-the-Spot News 8 team packed up equipment. “That dame has legs that never end,” he thought.

Noticing a camera still on the ground, Fletcher regretted it wasn’t far enough away from the van to “accidentally” run his cruiser over it. The TV news never got this story right. If the camera broke, he mused, people could read about tonight on Smitty’s blog.

(* I will mention that Editor Smitty has no intention of driving this little beauty. He intends to upgrade it to 2009 standards, sell it and purchase a suitable automobile for his son with the proceeds. Editor Smitty explains that he has already gone through his second, third and fourth childhoods and that the 10-year-old pickup he drives "is just fine, thank you. We ain't tryin' to impress nobody.")

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