I leaned close to my computer so my editor wouldn't hear me on a personal
"Oh, nothing. Never mind. We'll talk when you get home."
"Seen what?" I asked again.
"Nothing," Samantha repeated.
"Samantha, you have never once called me in the middle of the day about
nothing. Now come on. Spill."
Samantha sighed. "Okay, but remember: Don't shoot the messenger."
Now I was getting worried.
"Moxie. The new issue. Cannie, you have to go get one right
"Why? What's up? Am I one of the Fashion Faux Pas?"
"Just go to the lobby and get it. I'll hold."
This was important. Samantha was, in addition to being my best friend, also
an associate at Lewis, Dommel, and Fenick. Samantha put people on hold, or had
her assistant tell them she was in a meeting. Samantha herself did not hold.
"It's a sign of weakness," she'd told me. I felt a small twinge of
anxiety work its way down my spine.
I took the elevator to the lobby of the Philadelphia Examiner, waved
at the security guard, and walked to the small newsstand, where I found Moxie on
the rack next to its sister publications, Cosmo and Glamour and Mademoiselle.
It was hard to miss, what with the supermodel in sequins beneath headlines
blaring "Come Again: Multiple Orgasm Made Easy!" and "Ass-Tastic!
Four Butt Blasters to Get your Rear in Gear!" After a quick minute of
deliberation, I grabbed a small bag of chocolate M&M's, paid the
gum-chomping cashier, and went back upstairs.
Samantha was still holding. "Page 132," she said.
I sat, eased a few M&M's into my mouth, and flipped to page 132, which
turned out to be "Good in Bed," Moxie's regular male-written
feature designed to help the average reader understand what her boyfriend was up
to...or wasn't up to, as the case might be. At first my eyes wouldn't make sense
of the letters. Finally, they unscrambled. "Loving a Larger Woman,"
said the headline, "By Bruce Guberman." Bruce Guberman had been my
boyfriend for just over three years, until we'd decided to take a break three
months ago. And the Larger Woman, I could only assume, was me.
You know how in scary books a character will say, "I felt my heart
stop?" Well, I did. Really. Then I felt it start to pound again, in my
wrists, my throat, my fingertips. The hair at the back of my neck stood up. My
hands felt icy. I could hear the blood roaring in my ears, as I read the first
line of the article: "I'll never forget the day I found out my girlfriend
weighed more than I did."
Samantha's voice sounded like it was coming from far, far away. "Cannie?
Cannie, are you there?"
"I'll kill him!" I choked.
"Take deep breaths," Samantha counseled. "In through the nose,
out through the mouth."
Betsy, my editor, cast a puzzled look across the partition that separated our
desks. "Are you all right?" she mouthed. I squeezed my eyes
shut. My headset had somehow landed on the carpet. "Breathe!" I could
hear Samantha say, her voice a tinny echo from the floor. I was wheezing,
gasping. I could feel chocolate and bits of candy shell on my teeth. I could see
the quote they'd lifted, in bold-faced pink letters that screamed out from the
center of the page. "Loving a larger woman," Bruce had written,
"is an act of courage in our world."
"I can't believe this! I can't believe he did this! I'll kill him!"
By now Betsy had circled around to my desk and was trying to peer over my
shoulder at the magazine in my lap, and Gabby, my evil coworker, was looking our
way, her beady brown eyes squinting for signs of trouble, thick fingers poised
over her keyboard so that she could instantly e-mail the bad news to her pals. I
slammed the magazine closed. I took a successful deep breath, and waved Betsy
back to her seat.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...