Monday, March 7, 2016

Labosonline Short Story: The Vendetta III

Ebere blinked several times as if that would change what he was seeing on his computer screen. He opened his eyes and glared at the screaming headline… it couldn’t be, could it? John wouldn’t go that far would he? No he wouldn’t. He skimmed through the words in a rush… someone had sabotaged the paper.

Not him, not John and  definitely not the Boss!
Ebere did not need to read to the end of the story to know it was the story John had written and showed him in confidence. The Boss would have a fit. Where the hell was John?

“ John talk to me, have you been on Nijaoracle this morning?” His voice was low but precise. Ebere had a very odd feeling about the whole thing. He had thought about it as he left his apartment and thought of nothing else as he drove to pick up John. He looked sideways now to John who had not said a word.
“John?” his voice had risen considerably.

“Yes I have seen the blog this morning, and I saw the story. I don’t know why you asked but I’m sure you don’t think I sold the story” all his years as a journalist had taught him to avoid direct eye contact when lying. Not that he was, since he didn’t sell the story. He got no payment for it. The headline he chose had been payment enough. Actress/Girlfriend Reportedly Dies In Senator Willy’s Mansion: A Crime Of Love Suspected.

Ebere was looking at him suspiciously
“ Did you do it?” he asked now
“How can you even ask that?” john did his best to sound insulted. He obviously wasn’t doing a good job with his face.
“John you might loose your job but that’s not the scariest, you are dealing with a big Senator”
John smirked, he wasn’t scared of Willy, the blogger had been skeptical about posting the story, but he had taken the bait when he told her he would try another blog.
She posted the story and had also used his pen name.
“I have nothing to be scared of Ebere…really I don’t. Since I didn’t do it”
He was in a rage. That alone was obvious when they stepped into his office which also doubled as the newsroom. He was fit enough to be tied. He wasn’t on his seat, but pacing the short length of the newsroom.
He looked up as they closed the door.
“Who?” he asked them both but fastened his gaze on John. “You did it didn’t you?” he said through clenched teeth.
“You sold my story?” he bellowed emphasizing ‘my’ and John thought he would hit him. He said nothing.
“Why?” he asked now, his voice calmer. “Why did you do it? That was a very reckless thing to do…not only will it cost you your job, it will cost you so much more. I rembering telling you, no, ordering you to pend that story till we got more proof, but you flouted my orders ”
 He shook his head and went to his seat, dropping on the worn leather sorrowfully.
John didn’t understand why the Boss had the look on his face. He looked to Ebere for help but the latter's head was dropped so much that John feared he would break his neck.

He looked back at the editor who was now chewing the end of a short pencil.
“I have nothing to fear” John blurted out. Shocking Ebere who looked up so fast that he felt dizzy. No one had ever talked back at the boss.
“Everything in that story is true. I can defend myself if it comes it.” He said.

The editor looked closely at John. He had always admired him. His resilience, his recklessness and his wit. He reminded him of himself as a young journalist. He could recognize the fire, and knew he was going to get burnt.
“How much did you get for the story?” he asked suddenly thinking that should answer the question on his mind.
“Nothing” John answered and the boss knew he was being honest. Then there was something else.
“What then? Why are you so bent on seeing the story published?” he asked but John only looked away.

Personal vendetta against a senator.
“John. Are you involved?”
“I don’t want to talk about it” he said.
 The editor laughed dryly.
“but you should my dear…come here, come and see this”

John looked at Ebere but his head had drooped again. Pitiful Ebere.
He took long strides to the boss’s desk.
“When I saw the post, I checked the pen name on the byline ‘True Blue' see what I came up with” he pushed himself away from his laptop so John could see the screen.
John Erastus a.k.a True Blue… writer, journalist! Reporter/ Researcher: National Dailies
“Do you still not want to talk about it?”
John opened his mouth but words failed him… his LinkedIn profile linked True Blue to John Erastus.

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