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“Mr. Nichols, glad to have you on board,” said Tonya Bunt the slightly overweight HR administrator for the Cataford News.

Sam Nichols partially stood from his seat and shook her hand, “Thank you Tonya. It is good to be here.” Sam had been in Tonya’s office the past two hours going through orientation and company policies till he was ready to go nuts. There were several policies that sort of bothered Sam, but there were adjustments to make at any new job and he would endure, adapt and overcome. “I will get these benefit forms back to you by the end of the week.”

They both said their good byes and Sam headed for the editorial department. This was his third job as a reporter. This was the biggest paper he had been employed at. He had been working for a better position for some time and he had earned this over the past nine years. Sam was being hired as chief reporter to the city desk with two other reporters beneath him. Both were passed over on the promotion due to the fact that they had only 3 years experience between them. Sam loved being a reporter, because he was a good one. He absorbed facts, reported them unbiased and could explain complex happenings logically and clearly. Sam took pride in that.

Sam walked into the editorial department and (after a knock at the door) the Deputy Editor’s office. Greg Pallick was on the phone as usual talking to someone about an up and coming event that they wanted him to cover. Greg motioned to Sam to come in and pointed to a seat. “Yes sir. I think it will be a good outreach to the community. . . . . Yes sir. We will be there. Goodbye, Sheriff Little.”

Greg then turned his attention to Sam. They talked briefly about his first day and Greg issued Sam his press badge. Then Greg showed him to his cubical and then his computer. Wanting Sam to get right to work Greg said there would be a budget meeting in 30 minutes to talk about the stories for the next day and that he would be introduced to his staff at that time.

As soon as Greg had left, Sam had a visitor. The young slightly upbeat fellow introduced himself as Brandon from the IT department. Brandon gave Sam his username and password for the computer, his password for the voice mail system and his ID badge that was coded for the doors. He had been issued a visitors badge that would allow him to go into non-sensitive areas of the paper, but was red flagged by security at every point. The new badge would recognize him as an employee, would not actively flag him (but would record his actions) and would also allow him to go just about anywhere in the newspaper building.

Sam was a bit of a geek himself so he immediately struck up a friendship with Brandon. He did ask about the company policy about hooking up personal equipment to the network. Brandon explained that it was against company policy. “Well, I got this sweet little Dell laptop that I prefer to use,” Sam said as he unveiled his laptop to Brandon out of his backpack. It was a mini-sized framed laptop so it was small and easy to carry, but still big enough to comfortably work with.

“Aww man! That is the next series up from my personal laptop. Sweet indeed,” Brandon said. Then he did a little mocked bow to Sam saying, “Your Kung Fu is better than my Kung Fu oh he with deeper pockets.” He then cooed over the high end piece of tech. “That thing with blow the doors off of anything you will find around here. Tell you what, according to the policies you just can’t connect it to the network. So just keep it off of the network, use a flash drive to transfer your data and you should be fine.”

“Brandon, one last thing. Does this desk lock at all?”

Brandon looked around, “Yeah the file drawer here should lock and the key should be in the top middle drawer.” He opened the drawer. “Yep here it is. We just had these installed and I don’t think your desk has never been assigned to anyone.”

Sam dropped his MOBILE EDGE Black 17" Alienware Backpack into the drawer and locked it. He had removed the Alienware logo from the backpack so as to not advertise it as a laptop backpack. Sam had picked the backpack because it allowed him to carry all of his gear and a few additions easily.

“Sam, time for the meeting,” Greg slapped the wall of the cubicle as he walked by.

“Yes sir. Right behind you,” said Sam, as he noted that it was still four minutes till the meeting was scheduled to begin. He nodded to Brandon and was gone.

Brandon yelled behind him, “May the force be with you.” The lady at the next desk who was listening intently on the phone rolled her eyes as Brandon innocently asked, “What?”

In a moment or two Sam was being introduced to the editorial staff. He shook hands and immediately committed to memory everyone’s names, titles and a mental picture of their faces. He sat down in the meeting and observed trying to gather as much information as he could to the stories being planned for the next morning’s paper. Sam saw a few areas for improvements in the assignments and noted the attitude of the two reporters beneath him.

Sam only made two requests. First was to ask for the two reporters who would be reporting to him to stay after the meeting. Last was to thank everyone for their hospitality so far.

Sandy and Andrew were two good writers, but they just needed experience. They briefed Sam on what they were currently working on, what they had planned for the rest of the week and Sandy covered her feature story for Sunday’s edition.

The Sheriff was having a Law Enforcement Day down at the civic center this Saturday. It was open to the public and was supposed to be just a good time for the public to interact with the city and county law enforcement and other emergency services in the area. Sandy said that she would be covering that story.

The day continued without much of a hitch. It was like most first days, exciting and fresh. He met more people and the day ended. Sam walked down the block to the public parking deck and walk up the 3 flights of stairs. Sam had always preferred the stairs. No stopping at every floor and it gave him a bit of exercise. He stepped out of the stairs and went to his truck.

The F250 non-electric diesel crew cab Ford had been completely rebuilt. It had cost about twenty thousand to rebuild, repaint and modify. However, it had been worth every penny. It had an additional fuel tank (that could slowly refuel another car if needed), upgraded suspension, camper shell with utility rack on top and a front brush guard with winch and a hidden storage area in both sides of the bumper. Sam got in, hit the kill switch and was off. He loved this truck.

The next day went much like the first as Sam continued to become familiar with his surroundings. He did give Sandy and Andrew a task of compiling a contact list of some various people in the area dealing with the city, county and state agencies in the area. Before the day had ended, Sam had introduced himself to more than a dozen leaders in the area and had left messages of introduction with another two dozen more. The day ended with his editor asking Sam to start coming up with ideas on how to cover the Sheriff’s coming up election.

Saturday had come and the sound of a 1099cc’ed Honda Shadow Spirit roared into the civic center parking area. The motorcycle weaved through the parking lot and stopped in an open area of the parking lot near an exit where two reserve police officers were helping direct outgoing traffic. One of the officers eyed the rough looking biker. “Hey there buddy,” said the officer. The biker nodded and locked his handlebars in place.

“I said hello,” the officer said again as he walked closer.

This time the biker took off his helmet and said calmly, “Hello.” The biker continued to get off of the bike and picked up his backpack.

“Where are you heading today?” the officer asked.

“I am sorry officer. I really don’t have anything else to say to you.” The biker started walking toward the civic center and the Law Enforcement Day activities.

“Excuse me. Hold it right there. I am talking to you,” commanded the officer.

The biker stopped, threw the backpack on one arm and faced the officer, “Officer what is the purpose of this stop.”

“I ask the questions here!”

“Am I being detained?” the biker asked.

“What? Yes,” the officer answered. “Let me see you driver’s license.”

“As I retrieve that for you, I need to ask what is your badge number or name?” The biker pulled out a temporary in state driver’s license, a permanent out of state driver’s license, tag receipt and proof of insurance handing them to the officer.

“I said I ask the questions here!” The officer looked over the papers and said, “I will ask you again, Mr. Nichols. Where are you heading?”

Sam just stood there.

The officer looked over to the other officer, “Call the lieutenant down hear.” He turned back to Sam. “Now where do you work Mr. Nichols?”

Sam again stood for a few seconds, then he answered, “I have done nothing wrong. I do not wish to answer any of your questions. Am I free to go?”

The officer smiled, “Not till I get some answers. What do you have in that backpack? If you don’t have anything to hide, you won’t mind if I search it will you?”

Sam continued to stand still, “I am sorry officer. I do not consent to any searches.”

The officer face turned blood red and his upper body tensed up. Moments later another patrol car comes up. The officer walks to the car and talks to the newly arrived officer with a bar on his collars. The lieutenant walks over to Sam saying, “Mr. Nichols is it? I am Lieutenant Mickle.”

Sam nods, then repeats, “I have done nothing wrong. I do not wish to answer any of your questions. Am I free to go?” The lieutenant twists his head ever so slightly like a puppy trying to figure out what a mouse is the first time it sees it.

The reserve officer starts, “See he has been saying that since I stopped him.”

The lieutenant motioned down the younger reserve officer then turned back to Sam, “Mr. Nichols, why won’t you talk to us?”

“It is my right guaranteed under the 5th amendment of the United States constitution,” Sam answered.

“I see,” says the lieutenant. He then got into his car and ran Sam’s information. He then waved over the reserve officer and spoke to him a moment. After another two minutes, he walked back to Sam and handed him his papers. “Mr. Nichols you are free to go. Sorry for the delay.”

“Thank you lieutenant,” he put the papers back into his wallet as he walked towards the civic center. He noticed over his shoulder that the older officer was talking with the younger officer in earnest. Sam walked in to the civic center and there he saw on display all sorts of law enforcement vehicles and other exhibits. There was even the county’s new police helicopter on display. He stopped a moment, put his motorcycle jacket in his backpack, clipped his helmet to his backpack, and put on his press badge. He then reached into the front strap pocket of the backpack and took out a small digital camcorder that was already recording and started filming the exhibits.

Shortly he saw Sandy talking to an officer and she saw him. She motioned for him to come over. Sam walked through the crowd of smaller children and adults alike and made it to Sandy. She smiled and said, “Sheriff Little this is Sam Nichols. Sam is my new supervisor and will be heading up the city desk from now on.” The two men shook hands briefly.

“Sam Nichols, I got your call yesterday but was just too busy to return it. I was just talking to Sandy here about a story idea for my election coming up,” began the Sheriff.

“You mean THE election don’t you?” asked Sam.

“I am sorry?” asked the Sheriff.

Sam waved it off and said, “Oh nothing. Nice helicopter you have there.”

The Sheriff continued on, “Oh yea my step son, Richard, used to love them as a child.” He started a discussion on the election that lasted for the next five minutes with hardly taking a breath. Sam held the camera casually, but close enough to record the voice of the Sheriff. It ended with a county commissioner walking up and the Sheriff turned his attention to him.

“Sheriff Little it was good to meet you. Thank you for your time,” said Sam as the Sheriff nodded back.

Sandy and Sam walked around a bit more. Sandy asked Sam, “So are you here to check up on me?”

Sam blushed, “No I am sure you have this handled. It is more like catching up on the happenings around here. Got to get the feel of the town, if I am gonna be able to do my job well.”

They started interviewing a few more people and talking a bit with the various officers. Sam asks her, “Sandy who is the Sheriff’s opposition in the election?”

"Well, the only one that is left that has not dropped out is a lieutenant from the city police. Lieutenant Mickle. Want me to introduce you?”

Sam smiled and shook his head, “No that is ok. Him I have met and I am sure he remembers my name.” Sandy looked at him questioningly but dropped it.

After a few more pictures and notes Sandy turned to him saying, “Well, I got what I came for. See you at the office Monday.” Both colleagues smiled politely and went their separate ways.

Sam spent the weekend falling in love with the town and the surrounding area. Gas prices had increased over the past few weeks so he continued to drive his motorcycle all over the area. He was from upstate, but this center area of the state was much more metro than where he was from. He and his family still had the old farmstead, but that area was not dense enough to afford Sam the kind of job he was looking for. Yes, Catford was fitting to him like a glove so far.

When he arrived at work on Monday morning, he had the idea of starting of the election coverage with the facts. So he finished up the list of 25 questions that he was going to send to each candidate for Sheriff and collect the responses. He would probably move to individual interviews after that giving each candidate an equal opportunity to address the public. Then end up with any investigations into inconsistencies with their records. This was a good balanced approached that let the readers make up their own minds about the candidates.

Later, Sam ran his idea about the questions past Greg to see if this would be a good place to start. “These questions? You are just going to send it to them like some kind of test to fill out?” asked Greg.

“Well, no sir. I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that they would both have the same set of questions to answer so they could give information on the same topics.”

“Where did you get these questions from? Specifically asking about the use of Deputies during the Fall Harvest Festival,” Greg asked a little more frustrated. The Fall Festival was just over the line in the next county yet the Sheriff was a big supporter of the Festival since his family owned the land the parking was on. They rented the land to the event every year.

“Well, I talked to a few people down at the post office on Saturday and some of them asked why our deputies were helping to support that event since it was not in our county and what was going to be done concerning the drunk driving around in the area,” Sam answered.

“Sam you are gonna just have to learn the ropes around here. Look interviewing the Sheriff is fine, but asking him these questions might put him on the defensive. Tell you what just give him a call and ask for a press release from his office. We will start there.”

Sam stirred, “And what about a press release from Mickle?”

“What? Oh yeah, him too I guess. Look just use the press releases and get something wrote up for Wednesday and we might even expound on this for Sunday’s edition,” Greg ended.

Sam complied and walked back to his desk. It was lunch time and several of the people were leaving for lunch. Sam grabbed his back pack and walked out to and down the road. It was very early fall and a very slight nip was in the air. It was a great day to be outside. He walked down the street to a small park that was down town, pulled out his lunch and ate while enjoying the outside. His meal consisted of iced water in a thermos, chicken and rice, fruit bowl and a piece of homemade cake.

The town was a nice town. He sat and video taped some of the older building in the downtown area and once again instantly liked the place. It was a definite change from the farm, but it was a likable city and it was going to be “home” for the foreseeable future.

He had found a small loft apartment about a mile and a half from downtown where he worked. Most days he just walked to work. The apartment was over a small retail space that had recently been renovated, but was not selling. The landlord was at least happy to rent out the upstairs apartment and offered it for a great price per month. It was big enough for Sam’s needs and he went ahead and paid the first 6 months rent up front. He did have to rent some storage space to keep his truck, but because there was no tenant in the downstairs portion of the building, he was allowed to keep his motorcycle in the small warehouse area in the back of the building.

He then heard a screech from up the road. The camera turned quickly and settle on a car coming down the road entirely too fast. “Slow down buddy,” Sam said softly out of absentmindedness. The older model Chevrolet went straight through an intersection against a red and crashed into the side of a newer model Toyota Corolla going through the intersection. The young girl in the Corolla bounced around like a rag doll as the car was hit.

Sam immediately pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911. He continued to film as he spoke with the operator briefly giving the information of what was happening and where. He then noticed the girl in the smaller car was not moving and hung up. In a few brief seconds Sam’s reporter instincts were telling him to stay and film, but his more human side (and the 3 summers he worked as a life guard during college) won over.

He set the camera on the bench aimed at the wreck and swung off his backpack. He retrieved his first aid kit and ran across the road. The man in the other car was cursing a little obviously in pain. However, with him talking it told Sam several things: that he was conscious and had an airway, both good signs. The girl, however, was unmoved.

The girls head appeared to have hit the side window. He opened the first aid kit and put on the rubber gloves. “Miss! Miss! Are you ok?” Sam touched her shoulder and noticed she was bleeding from a cut on her neck. Sam opened a package of 4x4 bandages from the pack and lifted her head in to a more normal position trying to stabilize the C Spine.

Sam looked at the wound to her neck. The blood flow was not spurting meaning that it was probably not an artery, but there was a good bit of blood. More than likely pieces of the safety glass were jammed into her neck during the impact. Even though they were designed to fragment into very small chucks, the glass could still cut. Sam applied the dressing hopefully slowing the flow and stabilized her neck. He could tell that she was breathing.

After a few minutes the ambulance, fire crew and police were there. The fire crew’s paramedic relieved him and commented that he “did good.” He then took off his gloves and scrubbed down with some hand sanitizer from his backpack. He then retrieved his camera. Sam kept rolling and started trying to get reaction shots and a brief interview with bystanders. One bystander over heard the cops say that they thought the man was drunk. He would confirm that with a call to the police department in a few minutes. Within a few minutes he was heading back to the paper with a story for tomorrow.

Greg loved the story. It was really about the dangers of drinking and driving and Sam noted a trend in the county of more drunk driving fatalities. Everybody in the newsroom viewed the video. When the video was first played several asked who the guy was that was helping the girl. Sam just sat quietly and let the moment pass. Sandy mentioned that she thought that is was a good idea to start carrying the small little camcorders. They could have a serious benefit in certain circumstances. “We already record the audio of our interviews, why not video as well?” She asked to no one. In truth Sam tried to get the editor to allow them to run the video on their small web site, but the editor said that no one looks at their web site, the paper is what brought in the money and that “we write stories here.”

The rest of the afternoon was spent showing the video several times over the next few hours from people all over the newspaper from different departments. One older fellow named Dean from the advertising department, slapped him on the back and said, “Great job Sam. I can tell you are a man of action. All that it takes to let evil prevail is…… well good job.” It was the first time Sam had met Dean, but something struck him weird about that conversation.

A few more days passed and Sam had to cover the city council meeting and other weekly events. He met several people from the community at these public meetings. One was an older retired military sergeant who used to report for the army in the public affairs office in the Vietnam War that just introduced himself as Shakespeare (his nickname in the army). They struck up a conversation and immediately hit it off.

Sam did manage to get an appointment with the Sheriff for an interview and get the press release for the Sheriff’s office in. He looked it over. Just as he thought, there was nothing of serious substance in the release. It was a canned letter of the position of “I have done ok so far so let me continue to be Sheriff or you might not like the next person you get.” Sam slightly crinkled the paper in anger as he stuffed it into his backpack to look at it later.

It was then that his phone rang and he answered. He had a guest down stairs. Sam thought it odd that this would be his first guest at the job and then noticed who it was. Lieutenant Mickle stood before him. “Mr. Nichols. Nice to meet you again.”

The two shook hands as Sam blushed. The police officer continued, “I will get straight to the point sir. I got your letter asking for a press release regarding my efforts in running for Sheriff and thought that I would just drop by. It is my lunch break so this will have to be pretty quick.”

Sam composed himself, “I see. Well, thank you for coming by. Come on back to the interview room and we will talk.”

Sam escorted the officer back to the interview room and they both sat. “Lieutenant Mickle I feel that I need to explain my actions the other day.”

The lieutenant fired back, “Well, it was a bit out of the ordinary, but you were within your rights. After I spoke with the reserve officer, I understood that he had no probable cause to stop you and you had indeed done nothing wrong. Some times these younger officers tend to be too gung ho and need to calm down a bit.”

“Well, thank you for that.”

“Don’t thank me. It is the law. I enforce the law when you break the restrictions on your actions and obey it when it restricts me as well. Don’t get me wrong, if I had any probable cause that you had broken a law, you would be in jail.”

The two fell into a small silence then slowly into a series of questions and answers. All in all it became more apparent that this man loved the law and simply wanted to make this area a better place for all. The most apparent trait was his even handedness. He favored no one and singled out no one. It certainly appeared that he viewed the law as a brush to be evenly applied to everyone.

They did close with a discussion on the rise in drunken driving fatalities here lately. At which the lieutenant mentioned that 3 minor girls had died 4 months ago while coming back from a back woods party out in the county. It is getting out of hand and it would be his first priority if elected. The lieutenant even mention about the use of deputies at the Harvest Festival and said that practice would stop, if elected.

The day continued on and Sam wrote up the story of the interview with the lieutenant on his laptop. The lieutenant interviewed well and even though Sam had not asked his previous list of questions the lieutenant gave answers to just about every topic Sam had on the list. It was a good story everyone in the department that read it thought so.

After a late lunch Sam made some notes and was called into Greg’s office with a “Sam get in,” here being yelled across the editorial department. Sam picked up his camera turning it on, he placed it in his upper jacket pocket and walked into Greg’s office. Greg was already a little upset about something. Then, he asked about Sam interviewing Mickle. “I thought I told you to interview Sheriff Little!”

“Greg I have an appointment with him tomorrow. I was planning on having both stories ready for the weekend to possibly run both or whichever you like.”

“Sam you went and interviewed Mickle behind my back…”

“Now wait just a second, he came here without an invitation and he IS in the election…”

“You keep refusing to cover the Sheriff…”

“I have an appointment for an interview tomorrow…”

“… and I heard that you were helping that girl in the wreck the other day.”

“…as would anyone else when someone’s life could be on the line and you have the training to help.”

Greg slammed his fist on the desk and yelled, “Sam your fired!”

Sam stood there a moment, blinked and then backed out the door keeping his eyes on Greg. The people in the newsroom were in shock. Brandon was there working on a computer and sat in silence with the rest. Sam then walked to his desk, picked up his backpack and began to place his laptop in his bag.

Greg’s voice boomed, “You are not taking that laptop. That is newspaper property.”

Brandon spoke up, “I am afraid that it isn’t. That is his personal laptop.” Greg glared at the tech.

Sam turned and headed for the door.

What Sam did next even surprised Sam after he thought about it later. He immediately walked down the road and wound up at the county business license office. The lady looked across the desk at him. Sam smiled and said, “I need a business license for a newspaper.”

The next steps happened quickly. Within the day he had the space below his apartment rented out as the Catford Record paying an exceptional rate for renting both downstairs and the upstairs rentals. Sam paid an additional 6 months rent on the business so he would not have to worry about the rent for a while. He got a cell phone for his business calls and went to work.

He would need a printer from nearby and started contacting every newspaper that had a press within a 4 hour drive, but every one of them were asking a large amount to print the product. He sat in the small park near down town where the kids played while he ate his homemade lunch. Three teenagers walked into the park, giggling and clicking at the keyboards on their cell phones. He then looked over at a mother sitting next to her child on a hobbity horse and noticed she was looking at a blackberry. He could slightly overhear her listening to a news report from the Global News Network. Sam smiled, he no longer needed a printer.

Sam knew where Dean liked to eat lunch and since he was the only sales person he knew he decided to “bump” into him at the deli. Sam had watched Dean walk passed him a few days a week up the road during lunch break up to the deli up Main Street. Sam waited in the deli for about 5 minutes after noon when Dean walked through the door. After the two men spoke for a few minutes, Dean asked what his plans were, “.. and I promise not to blab about it to anyone at the paper.”

Sam smiled, “Well funny you should ask.” Sam relayed a few of his plans to open a competing news media outlet and then asked Dean for a lead on a good advertising rep. Sam thought for a moment and shook his head. He then quietly said, “All that it takes to let evil prevail ….”

Sam finished the sentence, “…is for good men to do nothing.” Dean shot a glance at Sam and Sam continued, ”What is going on Dean?”

“Well I will tell you. Selling has gotten harder. Circulation is declining so the advertisers reach less people. So to make up for it they raise the rates on the advertisers and shrink the content of the paper. The worst part is that people I know HATE the paper. It has turned into a politically correct piece of nonsense, but I am nearing retirement and that paper has provided employment for me for many years.” He thought for a moment. Sam could understand Dean’s predicament. “I tell you what. I know an older fellow who might be interested, but you would have to make sure he got some kind of pay check.”

Sam thought a moment then smiled. Over the next few minutes they worked out an agreement. For the first month they would split the revenue 50/50. Dean turned in his immediate resignation that day. In addition, Dean passed word to Brandon to call Sam. Dean knew he would be able to get some advertisement easy within the week and true to his word they had over three thousand dollars worth of advertisement presold for the first 2 weeks the web site could get going.

It was the end of the week before the phone rang and a strange voice answered, “Sam you have lost your mind dude.”

“Look I just need some expertise for a few days. Just point me in the right direction.”

“If word got out I was helping you man, I would be toast.”

Sam thought for a moment and then asked, “Do you know anyone who could setup a web site for me?”

Brandon got real quiet then said, “I am sorry Sam. I can’t. I gotta go.” The phone clicked off.

Sam went back to the office and made several phone calls to different national web hosting companies and several in town computer stores offering web authoring services. They all said the same things: 4 to 6 weeks to have a draft site up and it was going to cost a pretty penny. He sat in the office with his head in his hands when the front door opened.

He looked up to see Brandon smirking back at him. Sam looked at him questioningly, “What? I thought you were scared to help.”

In a slightly retarded Yoda voice Brandon said, “Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to SUFFERING!” He then straightened up. “Well, the reason I got off the phone so quick is Greg walked in the office and heard me on the phone. Next thing I know, I am in the HR office and then fired.” Brandon cleared his throat, “You still needing some help?” Sam smiled.

By the end of the afternoon Sam and Brandon had webspace rented, registered the domain name and they had a Content Management System uploaded to the webspace. They were ready to publish stories, video and audio to their site. They also laid out two rotating banner positions and 8 other static small banners that would appear on every page that the visitor looked at. Brandon was hired to maintain the web site, create the advertisement graphics and overall technical help. Tomorrow it would be available to start getting hits. The Cataford Record was born.

The next day Sam was already working on 4 different stories and had posted 3 on the site. He even figured out how to prepublish the story. He could write the story and set it to publish 3 hours later when he was out covering something else. He decided he would take this approach so it would give people the excuse to keep coming back to the site. He also started a community calendar so you could view events happening that day around town. Everything from church and civic organization events to governmental meetings being scheduled.

When Brandon came in Sam wanted him to start to work on some generic PSA type ads and some “in-house” ads telling the phone number to call for advertisement. Over the next couple of days, the web site started to get hits. Brandon had already listed the site on a few search engines and news oriented web sites. In addition, the gossip mills were churning that a real news source was in town. Every body would be visiting the site and telling their friends.

One day Sam addressed Brandon, “Here is some money for a laptop, air card and a cell phone. I want you mobile so you can work from home or where ever. The aircard will give you web access where ever you are because it works off of a cellular signal. Go pick them up from the store and get setup. Bring me the receipts and change.”

Brandon smiled, “Yes, sir. Oh Captain my Captain.”


“Yes, sir?”


“You’re the boss,” said Brandon as he headed out the door.

Sam left the office and took his motorcycle down to the local privately owned office supply house. After chatting with the elderly lady who ran the store he got several sets of business cards, envelopes and letterheads made up for half price in exchange for some free advertising on the site. This was a pretty good deal for the lady since the money paid for the cost of the materials and the advertisement was free. The first batch of business cards were ready during the hour.

Sam’s cell phone rung and Brandon was talking all fast like, “Sam you gotta get over here. All you know what is breaking loose. There are several people fighting at the gas pumps!”

“Brandon calm down. Where are you?”

“I am over at the larger Chevron station near the Mall. Dude, there are two people bashing each other like this is a prize fight.”

Brandon, listen to me. If you got a phone with a camera, start shooting pictures and I will be there soon.”

“Oh yeah. I did get one with a camera.” The phone goes dead. Obviously Brandon had hung up to take the pictures.

By the time Sam got there it was all over with. The price of gas had spiked over the past couple of days to double the cost it had been just a year ago and people’s nerves were on edge. The police arrived before him and had taken several into custody. It appears someone left their car to take their child in to the bathroom, returned to the car in line to an enraged person in the car behind him and a physical altercation took place. After he spoke with a few officers and the store owner (giving out his newly made business cards), he had his story. After talking with Brandon, he found out Lieutenant Mickle was at the scene.

Brandon and Sam returned to the office and down loaded the camera pictures. Brandon had even gotten a few videos of the arrest of the two men. Sam then called Mickle for a statement. After a brief greeting, Sam informed Mickle that he had started his own news outlet and explained what he was doing. The lieutenant wished him well with the effort and would spread the word around. Sam then asked about the incident at the gas station, “Lieutenant? Could you give me a statement on the gas station incident?”

The statement on the phone was a little cold, “We arrived on scene to find two people engaged in a fight. We separated the two and took them both into custody on the charge of assault. The child was picked up by social services and has already been released to his mother.”

“Some people have said that this was due to an argument between the two over one leaving his car unattended in the line while taking his child to the restroom. Can you confirm this?”

“I am sorry but this is an ongoing investigation and we will be issuing a press release from the public information office. So I really can’t say any more.”

Sam thought the shortness in his voice a little odd, but thanked the lieutenant for the information. In a few minutes Sam had the story on the internet site with a few of the pictures.

That night same could not think that there was just something wrong. There was just something that he overlooked, but this was an easy one. There was nothing special about this story. It was just too guys going at it because the gas is so high and there are lines at the pumps at the cheaper places for gas in town. The young kid, Richard Marlin, that started the argument was just being a jerk about having to wait in line. Gas was up and people were trying to by the cheapest gas they could. Nothing special.

Then it hit Sam like a baseball bat to the head. His mind raced back to his first conversation with the Sherriff.

“I am sorry?” asked the Sheriff.

Sam waved it off and said, “Oh nothing. Nice helicopter you have there.”

The Sheriff continued on, “Oh yea my step son, Richard, used to love them as a child.”

Sam bolted out of bed and past the clock on the wall reading 4AM and went to work again.

At 6:57AM he was sitting in the parking lot of the police department waiting on Mickle to arrive. Sam looked over the Cataford News again. Nothing was said about the fighting incident at the gas station. A police cruiser pulled into the parking lot and Lieutenant Mickle stepped out saying, “I wondered when you would be here.”

“Why didn’t you say something?”

Mickle shifted, “You are kidding. Right? The Sherriff wants this swept under the rug. I am running against him and going public would just look like a stunt to get votes. They are even filing a complaint against me even though I arrested the father of the child not his son. I made the other officer detain and transport his son. The Cataford News is not running the story and you barely mentioned anything about it. When it does break in the newspaper I am sure it will be about the complaint filed against me and not even mention that boy fighting with that man.”

“Sorry about that. It took me a little while to catch on. I did not know that Richard Marlin was the Sherriff’s step son. I had to put two and two together since you did not disclose it to me. But in about 2 minutes, the new version of the story will be published with pictures and video. It shows the other officer getting there first and arresting Richard seconds before you got there. I will tell the whole story and let the audience decide on their own, who to believe.”

The lieutenant shift, “You would do that?”

Sam looked the lieutenant square in the eyes and returned a question of his own, “What? Publish the truth? Yes, every time.”

· My Temperature is Right
5,573 Posts
Lovely story, left me wanting a greater expansion of the conflict though, like it begs to be expanded to at least a novella. You do a good enough job of keeping things vague enough and your prose flow nicely enough to allow suspension of disbelief.

· Premium Member
1,944 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good story! Are you going to do any more on Tom?
Honestly, I am a little stumped as to where to go with the story. I wanted to go a certain way with it and now I am leaning somewhere else. That is the danger that you run into when you write the story in stages like this. I like writing the whole story and then posting everything. It is just easier for me.

· Premium Member
1,944 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Lovely story, left me wanting a greater expansion of the conflict though, like it begs to be expanded to at least a novella. You do a good enough job of keeping things vague enough and your prose flow nicely enough to allow suspension of disbelief.
I understand. I have very limited time to write and in truth am not very good at it. I do enjoy telling a story though. Something that makes the reader turn to a positive thought about themselves or the world. There is enough negative influences out there. Just turn on any news cast. Thought it would be fun to flip that and let the media be what it started out to be, a spreader of truth.

You are right that the story needs more. Most often I write a story quickly all the way through so I have the main plot.

"John got out of his car and went to the door."

Then I come back and add sub plots and more details.

"John's burly Mustang roared up the drive. A split second after the car came to a halt in front of the house, John bolted for the door to the Tindle mansion."

I just didn't have a lot of time to come back and dress it up. As always thanks for the comments.

· Free Born
2,445 Posts
I understand. I have very limited time to write and in truth am not very good at it. I do enjoy telling a story though. Something that makes the reader turn to a positive thought about themselves or the world. There is enough negative influences out there. Just turn on any news cast. Thought it would be fun to flip that and let the media be what it started out to be, a spreader of truth.

You are right that the story needs more. Most often I write a story quickly all the way through so I have the main plot.

"John got out of his car and went to the door."

Then I come back and add sub plots and more details.

"John's burly Mustang roared up the drive. A split second after the car came to a halt in front of the house, John bolted for the door to the Tindle mansion."

I just didn't have a lot of time to come back and dress it up. As always thanks for the comments.
Bull **** your not good at it, I really enjoyed the whole thing, all in all a great read and well done. You should defiantly expand on this one, it has serious potential!
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