Jesus, he thought. Maybe there were true believers everywhere.
Walking into the newsroom of the Globe was always a jolt to the system, even after four years. The noise was a constant hum of conversations, ringing phones, chattering teletype machines, and the slapping of typewriter keys. The closer it came to deadline, the louder the noise, and right now it was almost deafening. But even after deadline, it never got quiet. Before one newspaper rolled out and hit the streets, it was time to work on another. As his editor once said, the news never stops and never do the goddamn newspapers.
There were a couple of dozen desks, arranged haphazardly over the dirty tile. Floor-to-ceiling pillars broke up the space, and also served as a convenient hanging place for calendars, notices, and framed front pages of Globes past. At the far end of the room was a large horseshoe of desks belonging to the foreign, national, metro, editorial, features, and sports editors. Carl aimed for a heavyset man behind one of the metro desks, his boss, George Dooley.
At the very end of the room were the glass-enclosed offices of the managing editors and the executive editor. Off to one side by itself, as if he didn't really belong, was the office for the oversight editor. The curtains to the glass windows of this office were closed. They were always closed. Like most reporters, Carl had never been in that office and that suited him just fine.
He passed one pillar. The framed front page was from August 14, 1945: Japs surrender. Another one was from June 28, 1950: American planes bomb fleeing reds in Korea. Carl dodged a copy boy, racing out to Composing with a fistful of papers in his hand. Another pillar, another front page. This one was January 21, 1961: Kennedy offers world new start for peace. It was hanging crookedly, and the broken glass had been poorly repaired with masking tape.
George had a phone to his ear but glanced up as Carl approached. As always, he gave Carl a look of skepticism, a look Carl had gotten used to these past four years. Dooley's desk was covered with paper, pencils, half-empty Styrofoam coffee cups, and damp photographs, fresh from the darkroom. His thin brown hair was plastered to a freckled scalp, and he wore black-rimmed glasses that were always sliding down his large nose. He had on a wrinkled white shirt with the sleeves rolled up massive forearms, a black necktie tugged open, and black slacks. He called it his uniform and claimed it saved him from wasting time in the morning, choosing clothes while fighting his daily hangover.
"Yeah, yeah," George growled into the phone. "Hold on for a moment, will ya?" He turned to Carl. "Whaddya got?"
He stood before his editor, flipped through his notebook. "A homicide from East Boston."
"Yeah, I know. Male or female?"
"Male, old guy. Looks like a vet. Shot in the back of head." He thought about telling George about his earlier meeting with the man, and decided not to. There was a pecking order in the newsroom, depending on how many stories saw print, and he didn't want George delaying this story because of some odd meeting last month.
George picked up a pencil, scratched a few notes. "Too bad it wasn't a college girl. Could use something to spright up the front page. All right, get me something in ten, page and a half."
"George, come on, you know I've got twenty minutes. And besides, the guy was a vet. That should be worth something."
"Don't be offended, Carl, but I'd rather have a dead coed than a dead vet," George said. "And you still get just ten minutes. Oversight took a long lunch and he's running late."
He knew better than to raise a fuss. "All right, ten it is. Did the Beast call? He was trying for some pictures of them taking the body out."
"Yep, he called and nope, there's no pics. They took the body out the rear, to avoid all the attention."
Reprinted from RESURRECTION DAY by Brendan DuBois by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 1999 by Brendan DuBois. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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