Mars Strike

Anna walked up to the opaque glass door, a man in blue overalls was scratching at the frosted lettering, trying to take them off with a scraper. He had finished with the Norton Gallagher, but still had to do the Editor in chief.

She pushed past him, and started to talk, Norton raised his finger as he finished the call.

“I’m sorry Richy, we can’t run a retraction.”

The small office, next to the corner office was where Norton chose to run the infamous New York paper from.

The walls were lined with photos of him shaking hands with famous people. Through the decades his thinning hair changed styles, but his smile and glasses never did.

She saw herself in the Christmas Party photo.

Is it the light? I look much bloody older than 32 in that picture. No it must have been the Mojitos. She thought to herself.

“Your boss clearly stated that he believed there where aliens involved, I’ve got him on tape.”

“Mayor sees Aliens. Thats the best headline I’ve had all year.” Said Norton, waving a copy of the paper.

“Ok then sue me, I’ll see you in court. Oh no wait, I won’t be there.” Norton, slammed the phone down with a huge grin and patted his plump belly.

“I’ve been waiting to do that for a long time.” He said. The high pitch squeaking of the metal scraper on the glass office door took away his smile.

“Couldn’t they have waited till I had left?” He said.

“Norm darling, what happened with the NASA Geologist lead, I was next on the rotation, but Mike got it.” Said Anna.

Her faint British accent always surprised and disarmed, but it could just as easily hide a fire breathing dragon.

“It’s not your fault, Mike almost didn’t get it either, we needed big hitters on this one, we need the eyeballs.” He said.

“No, you wanted someone, with, balls.” She said, her hazelnut eyes lighting on fire.

Norton wrung his hands together, looking to the floor, speaking slowly. “Now Anna..”

The door to the office swung open and Julia, his secretary, interrupted. “Did you see,” she flipped the channel on the quite TV in the corner. “CNN just broke the Volcano thing from NASA.”

“Jesus are we all sleeping here? Tell Mike to look for another angle on it.” He said waving Julia out the office.

Julia left, closing the door behind her, the scraper man was happy he could carry on making noise.

“Here is your shot girly, the front page is wide open, what have you got for me?”

“We could look at what NASA is trying to do to restore Comms with the rovers.” She said.

Norton, turned and looked at his computer screen, “boring.”

“Ok, what about the effect it is having on people, you know, the crazies.”

Norton stopped doing whatever it was that was so important on the computer, and looked her in the eyes for the first time.

“What Crazies? Hun, we are the crazies, look all around you, don’t ever write off someones opinion because it’s so very different from yours, ok.” He said, looking over the top of his glasses, his keen eyes watching her closely like a teacher.

He turned the computer screen around and showed her what he was looking at.

“Your new boat?” she said.

“It’s a Sport Fisherman.” He said, turning the screen back round, resigned to the fact she would never understand it.

“Mr. Gallagher, you still got two more weeks of paper to print.” She said.

Norton sat back, rubbed his face, and took a deep breath.

“Ok so lets break this down, NASA is clearly running a line here, everyone is saying the same thing, Volcano this, Volcano that. So lets go back to first principles, who might have a different opinion, and can we corroborate it.”

Anna, twirled her long dark hair in her finger as she thought.

“Crazy thing is, I might have a lead from an old flame of mine, he works at NASA.” She said.

“What did he say?”

Anna took out her phone, and read the message.

“I’ve got a lead on the big story for you, meet you at my place, you remember, above the auto parts place. 8 Tonight, don’t be late.”

“Now we’re talking. He said THE big story, so he must know something.” Said Norton, his face lighting up.

“He’s in LA, I won’t have time to get the purchase requisitions for the flight.” Said Anna.

“Hell, take my charge card, but nothing extravagant, actually, you know what, I don’t give a shit anymore.”

He took out his wallet, and gave Anna his company credit card.

“While you are there, NASA have called a press conference tomorrow somewhere in ????, get me something hot for the front page will you hun, lets go out with a bang.” 

Cover Image No Restriction from Nasa Flickr

Man writes. Man writes good, sometime man writes bad, but man writes.