Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Cultural · #1312339
...and that's the way it is.
|After surviving in the cutthroat business of broadcast news for over ten years, I finally got the big break I needed when Randy Mandrill, the hotshot Channel 5 news anchor, was suddenly shuffled off to a sister station in another market region after he tried to put the make on his co-anchor, the luscious bleach-blond Lucinda LaRusso. There was a lot of scrambling to take his place, but the same Adonis features that had spurred my ephemeral acting career finally prevailed over the competition.|
When I started moving my stuff from the shabby old gray fiberboard cubicle into the polished mahogany desk in the corner office with the picture-window view of the city, I found some very interesting tidbits that Randy had left behind in the desk drawer due to his rapid departure. Along with some dainty brassieres and panties, there was a notebook and a manila envelope containing a bunch of photos.
Working with Lucinda in the 5 o’clock slot was a real trip. She could describe the most horrific aftermath of an airliner crash or other deadly tragedy in vivid detail without batting a lovely mascaraed eyelash, as the on-site reporter pushed a microphone in survivors’ faces trying to provoke a response, in spite of their heroic efforts to maintain some semblance of composure. It was all about getting a spontaneous reaction for the sake of boosting the ratings. Publicly, people disavow such perverse displays, but in the privacy of their living rooms, they always tune in to see people getting kicked around by pushy reporters.
The precepts of good journalism, ingrained through years of education and experience, went by the wayside. In this world driven by ratings, drama rules. Rumors and innuendo become “conclusive reports by credible sources” to turn the most mundane events into titillating scandals, which are repeated over and over again until they are perceived as unchallenged fact.
I was a quick learner and soon started putting the files I found in Randy’s desk drawer to good use. With my thespian instincts driving my presentations on the Channel 5 evening news, our ratings started to soar, and we rapidly assumed the mantle of “Top-rated news program” in the market.
It wasn’t long before I began to feel that my talent was being stifled by having to share the spotlight with that bubble-headed bleach-blond Lucinda. Consequently, determined to kick her aside, I put Randy’s old files into play again.
I forwarded the brassieres, panties, and some photos showing Lucinda in a compromising situation to one of our rival stations. That was all they needed to break the news of a prominent news anchor on a local TV station involved in an egregious abomination.
Lucinda was quickly shuffled off to join Randy at that sister station in some remote hinterland, and I have the 5 o’clock news anchor slot all to myself, with plenty of dirty little secrets left in Randy’s juicy files to kick down any potential usurpers.
...and that’s the way it is on this Friday, August 31st, 2007.
Beginning: I finally get a long-awaited promotion.
Setting: The news center of a local TV station.
Plot: I struggle to meet expectations in the news department.
Ending: I attain the supreme position as sole news anchor.
Inspired by Don Henley’s song “Dirty Laundry.”