Hello! It`s time for Tuesday Tales again. This week I`ll be sharing an excerpt from my WIP (Work In Progress) Pink Pucks and Power Plays, an M/F romantic-comedy, starring my sassy curvaceous society page reporter, Viviana Land, and defenseman for the Philadelphia Wildcats professional hockey team, Alain Lessard.
In today`s excerpt, we find out just what decision Viviana makes.
This week our word prompt is ‘Laughter’. Since this is a rough draft there may be some mistakes. I do apologize for any boo-boo you may find.
Please do check out the other wonderful writers after you`re done reading by clicking on the Tuesday Tales link at the bottom. Thanks for stopping in!
Frank stood up.
“Everyone but Land out.” He motioned to the door that led out into our newsroom. Bert was the first one to fling his angry self out the door. Lucretia of the Undead followed, her hair now obscuring her face completely. Oscar departed. He blew me a kiss before closing the door gently. My editor folded his arms over his stomach. “Okay, tell me what you want.”
I ran my hands down my skirt to press out a few imaginary wrinkles. I really hadn`t been pushing for any special favors, but if Frank was ready to deal for this Lessard`s story then I would certainly not be dumb enough not to grab what I could. I dallied and pondered.
“Come on, Land, I know you want something. You want a new beat maybe? Get some juicy stuff? I can maybe send you out with Kowalski on the crime stories.”
That got my attention from my faux wrinkles. Paul Kowalski was the top reporter here. A huge fish in a very small pond it was true, but one that had written three novels and had a Pulitzer sitting on his desk for a in-depth piece he did three years ago on disability pension abuses by the state government. He was working for a major New York paper at the time of his big break. Sadly, Paul and his love of Jim Beam, Johnny Walker, and all those other highly proofed gentlemen meant he was now working with us in Green Hills, Pennsylvania. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Probably Paul was now lying right where he had fallen last night after closing down Paddy`s Southside Pub.
“Before we begin any negotiations, I need to know just what`s so damned special about Alain Lessard,” I informed my boss. Frank gawked at me as if I were from some alien planet and had asked what was so special about Lagavulin on the rocks or pilfered porn. Bowers rump hit his chair and expelled all the air from the cushion. He reached for the pack of Newports in his shirt pocket then frowned when he realized he couldn`t light up.
“Lessard is the wunderkind of the hockey world,” he grumbled, tapping a stout finger on the top of the mentholated cigarette box. “This kid has blown every damned record the NHF has had for years to bits, and the amazing thing is that he`s only twenty-three years old. He`s elusive and reclusive and shuns the press like a nun sidesteps a hooker. Last year his points per game and power play assists were . . .”
I had stopped listening right around the ‘he`s only twenty-three years old’ bit. That astounded me yet I couldn`t say why. I had known he was young, it was obvious. So why was I so taken aback to hear his age? Could it have something to do with the fact that his fantasy double had been feathering kisses up my leg last night?
“. . . can get close to him you`d be pulling off one of the largest coups in sports journalism.”
I realized Frank was finally done talking. “I`m not a sports journalist,” I whispered then cleared my throat to dislodge the sinful memory of Alain Lessard`s fingers between my toes, “I`m quite happy doing the society page.”
“You`re a damned poor liar, Land,” Frank laughed in his bullfrog manner. “I heard you telling Morticia Addams from Obits that what you submitted for Sunday was tripe.”
My lips flattened.
“Yeah, I thought so,” the man guffawed, “I know you got ambition. You pull this off and I will guarantee you one byline with Kowalski per week. That gets your name on the front page.”
“I want another weeks’ vacation and a hundred dollar a week raise,” I said, hands folded demurely in my lap. Frank`s eyes bulged amphibiously.
“Land, have you seen our reader numbers over the past two years?” he asked. I nodded.
“Okay, I`ll drop the raise but I want another weeks vacation, paid, and a byline. You give me those and I`ll give you Alain Lessard,” I countered.
“Are you set on the paid vacation?” Frank asked. I fixed him with a ‘What do you think?’ expression. “Had to ask,” he muttered. “Okay, you get them both with pay but you have to deliver me an in-depth story about the golden child of the NHF or it`ll be you sitting in the basement beside the hot water tank writing post mortems. You and me clear on that, Land?”
“Crystal, “I smiled widely. With a quick handshake and a final warning I was on my way, my step brisk and lively as I cruised past Bert Anderson by the water cooler throttling a pointy paper cup. I sailed through the tiny newsroom to my desk then met Oscar`s assessing gaze.
“Can I talk to you privately?” I asked, nodding at the ladies room door. I entered first and checked under the stalls. When I was sure the coast was clear Oscar swooped in amid a cloud of delicious cologne and raspberry cashmere. I jogged over, put my ass against the door then looked up at my dear friend. “Can you tell me what the hell NHF stands for?”
Copyright ©by V.L. Locey
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See you next week for from Viviana and Alain!