The Jinx: Sample Page 3

“I admire your passion, but there’s nothing new about racism,” Thompson interjected brusquely. “Maybe you were never exposed to it growing up in Minnesota, but—”

“Don’t patronize me,” she said. “I’ve been a New Yorker since I was eighteen. My background is not the issue. Racial hostilities have risen to a new level. We’ve got to cover this story. Dammit, we are the story.”

Thompson glowered at her. “Good newspapermen report the news, young lady, they don’t make it.” Despite everything else he had become, he was still a newspaperman.

“I’m sorry. I was out of line,” she said, chastised but not beaten. “The fuss over this editorial may blow over, but sooner or later something is going to set off this powder keg. That kind of passion you’re seeing down there can inspire ordinary people to extraordinary action.”

They were distracted by a flurry of activity in the crowd on the street below. Two men had taken a rope and were hanging an unflattering likeness of Thompson in effigy over a lamppost. The mob roared as the bloated mannequin was lit afire. The police maintained their distance.

He wrinkled his face and subconsciously ran his hand across his flabby midsection. “That crowd wants blood.”

“Maybe we can offer them Roger as a human sacrifice,” Christy said, straight-faced. Ordinarily, Thompson would frown at a young reporter’s disrespect for the City Editor, Roger Martin, but he knew Roger was Christy’s lover as well as her boss.

He snorted. “You think you’re joking,” Thompson said. “They want my blood, I wrote the editorial, but they might take whoever we offer them. Even you.”

“All the best stories carry risk,” Christy said, her eyes—those smoldering eyes—locking on his. “I’ll never be a great reporter if you won’t let me take risks. Why are you—”

A knock on the open door to Thompson’s office interrupted her. A bespectacled young clerk with slicked back hair peeked in nervously. Christy’s glare shot daggers at him. “Watcha got, Pete?” Thompson asked.

“Sorry to bother you, sir,” the clerk said. “Three more death threats in the morning mail. Anderson in Security wants to call the cops, maybe hire a bodyguard.”

Copyright © 2000, 2011 by Larry Kahn

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