The Jinx: Sample Page 5

He stifled a smile. “Well, maybe I should ask all the cub reporters to review my word choices before I run my editorials,” he said.

Christy blushed. “Oops, looks like I’ve crossed the line, again.”

The corners of Thompson’s mouth turned up weakly. “Maybe you should take that as your cue to give up the race story and take an assignment from Roger at the City Desk,” he said softly.

“I’m not conceding that easily,” she said. “There’s an important story here, and I’m the one to write it. I’ve already—”

“You’ve already what?” he asked. “Already offended the Fire Department?”

“That wasn’t my fault,” she said, fidgeting in her chair defensively. A small fire had been set in the basement of the Herald Times building shortly after she wrote an investigative piece about corruption in the New York City Fire Department. “Nobody ever proved who set that fire.”

“Before that it was the Sanitation Department,” he said. “Garbage on our front steps every day for a week. And before that it was the longshoremen. Face it, Christy, you rankle people. The perfect person to do a piece on race relations.”

“Look, I’m not out there to make friends,” she said. “I’m out there to get the story—and I always get the story.”

“Maybe now, but a good reporter cultivates contacts,” he said. “Some day you’ll need the Fire Department, and they won’t be there for you. You’ve got to work with people, respect their position and their personal space. You’ve got the political instincts of a buffalo. You stampede over everyone.”

“Maybe that political crap works for a middle-aged, Ivy League, WASP,” she said angrily. “But it sure as hell doesn’t work for me. People see this little…little—”

“Leprechaun,” he offered.

Copyright © 2000, 2011 by Larry Kahn

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