Big Jim Schreiber was pissed off. He was pissed off every day since the Chief demoted him from the City Desk to the Society Desk; today though he was particularly pissed off. The Chief had made the entire newsroom a no smoking room and he couldn’t light his cigarette. God he wished he could light his cigarette. What good was it to have a pack of Parliaments if you couldn’t light them? To top it all off Irma was over pitching a story, and as Society Editor he had to approve the story before she could spend any time on it. Irma had been working the Society Desk forever. She was pretty good at sniffing out a story and he had faith in her instincts, but he couldn’t let her think she had Carte Blanche.
“I’m sorry, Irma, can you run that by me once more. I think I’m missing something.”
“Come on Big Jim, how many times to I have to explain it? Kid Hilde and her sister were spotted at MOMA this morning. They were there for the Van Gogh opening. We got a picture and everything! Apparently they went in looking for her cat but got distracted by the artwork. Cat’s name is Miss Fluffy, by the way.”
“That’s some pretty impressive investigative journalism Irma. Finding out the cat’s name and all but I’m still not clear on one thing. Who the hell is Kid Hilde?”
“Really, Jim? Kid Hilde is Kid Hilde Margoleese. She’s a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist for a local folk band called the ‘Kid Hilde Margoleese Menagerie’. They play at farmers markets and shopping mall parking structures all over town. She teaches her pets to sing, dance, play instruments, and then she puts them in the band. Like that. She has a turtle that can play the ukulele. She’s real popular with the kids. I want to get over to MOMA before she leaves. Try to get a quote. She’s real popular with the kids.”
“I know, Irma. You said that. OK; go. I’m gonna trust you on this one but you better bring me back something good.”
She turned and high-tailed it before Big Jim had a chance to change his mind.
Jim stood up and addressed his reporters, “Damn, don’t any of you guys have a good story? This ain’t a newspaper, we’re making nuthin’ but fish wrap! We need stories that people want to read”
Johnson spoke up, “there’s a book club meeting in Compton tonight at 7:00. It’ll be at the library.”
“OK Johnson” Big Jim said, “You cover that. In the meantime – you know between now and 7:00 – try to find something interesting to write about.”
He turned to the big burly reporter seated down the table, “Get off the fucking phone Neukirch. You’re supposed to be at the Red Hat Luncheon in,” he looked at his watch, “15 minutes. Move it.”
“You gotta put somebody else on the Red Hats Jimbo.” Neukirch said as he hung up the phone. “That was one of my contacts downtown. The cops have just arrested Myra Milton and charged her with murder.”
“Who’s Myra Milton?” Big Jim asked, “some friend of Hilde’s?” He put his palms up, lifted his eyebrows, and shrugged his shoulders.
“Come on Jim,” Neukirch said. “She’s that society dame, a real looker and heiress to the Milton fortune. They’re charging her in those slasher murders. Apparently they caught her with her knife in hand and a dead guy right there. That’s three known victims and they think there might be more.”
Big Jim pulled a pack of matches from his shirt pocket and lit the Parliament that was hanging from his lips. “Jimmy, cover the Red Hats. Neukirch, get downtown and find out everything there is to find out.” He looked around, “Irma? Where the hell’s Irma?” he shouted.