”M’ is for making news people – If there isn’t any, make it up. There’s always news!’
That was Jake’s favourite saying. He’d laugh when he said it; we’d all laugh too. Our esteemed Editor-in-Chief didn’t demand toadying, but he still expected it. Heck, none of were innocents – we didn’t do this job for nothing, we could have done something else. We chose to be here; we chose to treat people like shit. At times I hated myself for it. However, one of the Boss’s early forays into conscience reassurance still managed to win me over, most days:
‘They’re celebrities. We pay them – we own them. If they step out of line we have a right to know!’
After a while it just became the way we all thought. Yes, we had our own families, our own secrets – but we were just ordinary people, doing ordinary jobs. Nobody cared whether we’re up to no good with the sister-in-law, the brother-in-law or anybody else for that matter. Those were our concerns, not the nations.
The office was quiet that particular morning in early May – just after the holiday weekend. I noticed the Boss wasn’t at his desk when I slipped out of my coat and into my chair. Soon I received a flustered tap on the shoulder from Frank O’Callaghan – the Deputy Editor. Even this early in the morning his tie was already at half mast, as dark sweat stains puddled under his arm pits.
‘It’s the Boss,’ he began – chewing his lips, while sucking his teeth. ‘New ‘M’ word for the day – manipulate, got it?’ he continued.
‘What’s up Frank? Where’s Jake?’ I replied.
Behind Frank’s flushed forehead, the local TV news channel was paused on a grainy, slightly pixelated image subtitled ‘Gazette Editor, Jake McGivney and friends‘. I didn’t recognise the women, or man, he was with. Almost didn’t recognise the Boss without his clothes.
‘On it’, I nodded, just about managing to suppress a smile.
These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘manipulate‘, form my entry into the Trifecta 111 writing challenge.