Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Critic

“You’ll see. Monday morning, there will be a dozen or more in the inbox,” the aging staffer explained to the newest, and youngest, member of the editorial board as they checked the newspaper’s “Feedback” email account. “The guy’s crazy, but he keeps the fire burning.

“We wait every morning for his daily venom. He’s old, but he adapted quickly with the change from letters to email. He mentioned saving money and not having to use envelopes and stamps. He was glad to be done with ‘that damn, backwards United States Postal Service.’”

The old timer stood, picking up his coffee mug as he rose, and the rookie followed suit, trailing him to the staff break room down the hall.

“It’s always the same,” the staffer continued as they walked. “He hates the liberals for spending his money, and hates conservatives, too, for not getting anything done. He must just rummage the web all day looking for anything to support his ranting.”

“The critic?” another editor asked as she walked into the break room. She held out her mug for a refill, after the rookie finished filling the chief’s cup with stale coffee from a dingy pot. Taking a drink, the veteran nodded.

“He focuses mainly on local politics, candidates, and causes. As far as he’s concerned, the whole town has gone to hell. He drones on and on about the old days, when he was a kid,” the second editor elaborated for the rookie.

“But watch out if someone gets caught in his crosshairs; they are as good as DOA,” the old timer said, reminding both the underlings not to disregard the crackpot. “People still talk about the year he undermined both major mayoral candidates and that ‘hippie kid’ snuck in.”

“He hated the kid, too, but considered him better than one of those career politicians,” the second editor noted as the three of them walked to the conference room, where four other editors waited to begin their morning staff meeting.

“If we don’t hear from him by noon, we joke about checking the police blotter,” the old timer said with a small smile, and the other editors laughed while the rookie chuckled nervously.

***

Darkness arrived early in December. It was cold and black by his daily dinnertime. He started at the unusual sound of his ringing doorbell. Must be one his kids, probably his son. He opened the door, beginning to speak. Out of the dark, the shotgun pellets shredded his chest; he slumped to the floor.

4 comments:

  1. Whoa -- didn't see that coming. Good story.

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  2. nice ending ... or ... new beginning?

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  3. CHANGING OF THE GUARD

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