A Small Death in the Afternoon


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From memory triggered back to life by this poem by Jim Harrison.

The newsroom’s police scanner squawked around 3:30 one afternoon and my editor sent me out with camera and notebook.

It was a cloudy day in early Spring, the roadside grass was fresh and green, the
baby wheat plants covered the fields on either side in a fuzzy carpet.

The scene was very ordinary-looking at first, and it confused me. This was my first fatal accident as a reporter and I didn’t know what to expect.

A sheriff’s department cruiser was off the road with lights flashing behind a family wagon, Continue reading “A Small Death in the Afternoon”

Take the Shot


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You few, you happy few who spent time in the purgatory of a newspaper news desk writing headlines on deadline will see this and feel a pang of joy and jealousy. “Lucky bastard,” you may mutter.

For a desk editor, this is the equivalent of the hanging fastball over the middle of the plate. This is better than Babe Ruth pointing to the center field wall with his bat, challenging the pitcher to bring the heat.  This is better than Yukon Pete hitting a gold nugget the size of a Volkswagon Beetle with his pick.

One of these can make your month—or more. And your colleagues will clip it out and put it up on the office bulletin board and you can bask in the acclaim for a while—almost long enough to make up for the lousy hours, illiterate junior flip reporters, starvation wages and insane managing editors.

But while it lasts….. ahhhhh…