While the following is fiction, it’s partly based on truth that I read about here last year about a company that’s taking over the nation’s newspapers and pretty much cannibalizing them.
And, although these may be wishful words, the next few stories will be shorter because I remembered last night how much I like getting more than four hours sleep. 😉
The Old Man, Superman
The old man wants to retire. He’s put 60 years into this business, seen the paper through huge stories, and fights to provide truth even though the public doesn’t seem to be interested in true facts any longer. If I had to cast an actor to play him, it would have been Ed Asner who was tough as nails but always in search of the truth of a story.
Maybe I shouldn’t doubt him. Maybe he won’t fold to the amount of money that the Aiden Corporation is throwing around in their quest to devour the country’s newspapers so that they can control truth, maybe offer their own version. Because that’s the thing these days. Facts don’t matter but everyone’s selected truth does.
I begin packing up my desk.
McCarthy who has been squeezing his stress ball for the past ten minutes narrows his eyes at me. “What are you doing?”
“You and me both know I’ll be the first one terminated. I’ve got too many opinions.”
“That’s true. You are the most opinionated woman I know, but the old man hasn’t cried uncle. I don’t think he will.”
“With the millions the Aiden Corporation is tossing around?” I glance up from the bullpen to where the old man’s office is. “He could buy an island and a boat and live the life he’s always wanted.”
McCarthy tosses his stress ball on his deck and leans toward me. “What the old man’s always wanted was for truth to reign supreme. He’s always been one of the good guys.”
This is all true. I’ve just seen too many good guys fold under the pressure of ugliness and public apathy. “How can it be that I’m more cynical than you are?”
“Because I’m Irish and you’re whatever you are.”
The door above us opens. I hold my breath watching as one of the men adjusts his tie. Is that a good sign or bad? The other clears his throat. Nothing in their demeanors tell me anything And then the old man stands in the doorway, his arms folded over his chest, his chin raised as he watches them leave, almost as if he’s daring them to do something untoward. He notices me and McCarthy watching him. He waves us off, a get-back-to-work gesture.
I glance at McCarthy. We share a relieved, quiet laugh. The old man remains superman and I’ll keep my job and we’ll continue to report true facts. Yet, I notice as the old man turns back into his office that his shoulders slump and he moves stiffly as if his once younger-than-age body is suddenly carrying every single day of his years. He may have bought us a reprieve, but the days are numbered and we may have to become our own superheroes. Just call us: The Truthseekers.