My editor has been pressing me for a new story and I can’t seem to get a good one. You don’t win two consecutive Grammys unless you’re good or lucky. I think am neither but am hoping to at least get lucky this time.
Rent is due and with my boss’s tone, it looks like my job is on the line. She needs a story and am going to get one. I head out to the park and sit there for a while but nothing interests me. I can’t write about trees, not the kids playing. I do not want another lecture about why they gave me the job.
I need a coffee too so I head to Bakers. He has the best coffee in this place. On cue notice, the new Sheriff walks in. I wave and he waves back. I take my time and he finishes his meal and heads out.
I follow at a close distance because I have nothing else to do and am that desperate for a story. Suddenly he stops and I stop too. Then I notice his flat tire. He’s either made enemies that first or there’s a grouchy Grinch in our town. I head into my car and wait for him to fix his car. I can’t stop myself from noting that in my book.
The old man must be close to retirement because he takes a good time at it. He makes a call and am pretty sure he was whining about the incident to his deputy. His deputy doesn’t like me much. We go way back and with my profession, I tend to step on his shoes way too often.
The Sheriff pulls out of the packing and soon we’re on our way. We take a good time and I put my stereo on. Am caught up in a song that I don’t realize we’ve picked up the pace. Something must be up. I am exhilarated.
He stops near the church and I must say am disappointed. I like church but am not sure anything interesting will happen here. I should go for confession now that am here. I decide to follow the Sheriff and am surprised that the priest himself comes to meet him. They engage in a hearty conversation and after boring me out of my mind he shakes his hand and heads back in. I burnt my oil for nothing. My serotonin levels are running low here.
Now am seriously going to lose my job. This town is just not interesting enough. Sheriff heads back into the highway and I follow. His life doesn’t seem interesting enough for a story. He leads us to a motel and all my hopes crash. He’s going to rest.”Now am officially jobless”Damn this town.
He heads in and is left in my car. I close my eyes and wish for the heavens to intercede. Am still too young to get wrinkles at this age. I decide to stay there and wallow for some time. I’ll send that resignation before they fire me. I’ll not give my boss the thrill of seeing my depressed face.
Suddenly, I hear a commotion on the first floor. Since today am on detective mode I follow the noise throwing all caution to the wind. The noise leads me to a hallway and I tiptoe my way to the end. Theres a man laying on the floor and the Sheriff is stepping on him.
The waiters are on one side clutching each other. The man isn’t moving and is surprised they’re not doing CPR. I hold myself tighter. One of the ladies whimpers and he cocks his gun.”Make a noise and you’ll be next”.”Should we call 911 oh that’s right 911 is the danger right now.”I need to get out of this place.
I make it to my car with a pounding heart. If that’s the story then am not telling it. Infact am moving out of town next thing tomorrow morning. I like my head where it is. I pull out before they notice am there. To win a fight you must pick a worthy opponent and on this, I am far from worthy.
I arrive home disappointed but happy to be alive. I recount the events and attach the photos I took. I type my resignation letter and send it to my boss. The following morning I pack my stuff and head home. Miles and miles away from the tragic town.
Something haunts my head on the way but I can’t pinpoint it. I pull over and check my laptop.5 emails and ten missed calls on my phone. I had turned my phone off. I then realize that I sent the story too. I shut my laptop and accelerate till I get to my hometown.
This is my third month working with New York Times daily since my award-winning story. Am on a hunt for a story and I hope it doesn’t leave me on the run after I find it. The last time I nearly lost my head.