Fodder for the Masses

Zack Irwin was scheduled to meet Tanya Porter in half an hour to discuss the fundraiser; an assignment he wasn’t excited about. He had personal reasons for disliking journalists and reporters. Although they weren’t all low-life pieces of crap, the ones he’d met definitely were.
To be fair, after looking Tanya Porter up to prep for the ordeal, he’d witnessed her sensitivity, thoughtfulness and respect. It had him lifting an eyebrow in surprise. All traits he admired. She was a tiny thing, probably about five foot four inches, in heals. He noticed she dressed appropriately depending on the interview and never took center stage. Her interviews were all about the person or the organization involved never shying away from the truth, never glamorizing, never dramatizing, just stating facts. She asked the hard questions in a way the interviewee couldn’t take Umbridge without rushing, giving the subject time to consider their responses. All points in her favour he decided. Maybe, just maybe it wouldn’t be as miserable an ordeal as first expected.
Arriving at Windover Park minutes later, a location he’d chosen for the interview, he strode casually toward a park bench close to the water and sat patiently upon her arrival while watching ducks glide back and forth, no doubt looking for breadcrumbs.
Within minutes, a flurry of activity caught his peripheral vision; he turned his head, arm outstretched along the back of the bench observing her approach. She was a firecracker. That was his immediate impression. Dressed in skinny jeans, a rose-coloured sweater and plaid coloured jacket, her shoulder-length hair bobbing as she walked, he had to smile at her struggle to cross the expanse of lawn carrying a massive black duffle bag that looked decidedly heavy. She never wavered once, just kept coming, her eyes never leaving his face as if willing him to stay put, worried he might up and leave before the interview was accomplished. Her camera woman strolled slowly behind her carrying the camera already mounted on a tripod and wasn’t struggling at all.
Before he could offer assistance, the camera was sitting on the cement path next to the canal and the camerawoman was adjusting this and that. Holding out a hand to her he introduced himself and taken by surprise, she held out her hand to identify herself. “Amelia Hill.” She stood about five-ten with a toned build suggesting we lifted weights and considering she hefted that camera around, it was probably a good idea. Then he turned his attention to Tanya Porter who had finished opening the duffle and he noticed several different sized lenses. Some were massive, all expensive he surmised.
Again, offering his hand, this time to the reporter, when she placed her hand in his, he realized he dwarfed her. She was a little thing, smaller than he’d expected. Perhaps it was the strength of character and her confidence that made her appear larger than life.
“I’m delighted to meet you, Detective Irwin, thank you for meeting with us.”
“I won’t say it’s my pleasure,” he grinned to soften the words, “since I’ve always felt an antipathy with reporters. The ones I’ve known have proven themselves scum of the earth.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” she acknowledged dropping her head to the left.” Realizing he still held her hand, she gently tugged it out of his grasp and stood tall. “We aren’t all bottom-feeders, I assure you.”
She took a seat on the bench and he sat beside her. “What aspects of the fund-raiser do you wish to highlight and are there any issues you’d rather avoid?”
“I’ve never done one of these interviews before, so for the most part, I leave it in your accomplished hands. Having said that, I won’t discuss my personal life, friends, family, and only the co-workers involved and volunteering for this gig.”
“Fair enough,” she responded. Having delved into his background, to learn more about the man she was to interview, she realized why he’d feel as he did. His family and their business as well as a large number of the crimes he’d investigated had been used as fodder to entice viewership. He’d obviously been ambushed on several occasions, the intent making him appear as hot-headed, given to emotional displays and easily antagonized. She’d watched half a dozen interviews, most occurring without his consent so she understood his antipathy.
The articles covering his family, for starters, were determined to paint the Irwins as unscrupulous while admonishing their audience to support a company owned by the Brady Foundation. It stunk of backroom deals determined to enhance the Bradly Foundation while bad-mouthing the Irwin Group. She wasn’t down for that. It frustrated and angered her because it gave all journalists a bad name and the resulting and ongoing abuse they were subjected to was unfair and unwarranted.
The Police and Fire Department were going to battle it out in a head-to-head do-or-die set of volleyball games. Both groups were to receive a large donation for their cause. There were no losers here.
She’d obviously done her homework and she had him smiling on more than one occasion when she’d pointed out incidents that played out between the cops and firemen in previous games and the hilarity that ensued as a result.
The interview was over before he knew it, painless and admittedly, fun. Damn, she was good. She’d put him completely at ease and that wasn’t an easy task. Not only because she was a journalist, but it wasn’t always easy to come down from a case, especially the more horrific cases. And there were some that could destroy you if you weren’t careful.
Standing, she nodded toward the camerawoman who turned the camera off and she began packing it up. “Thank you, Detective Irwin, I really appreciate your candid honest interview, not to mention you have a delightful sense of humour. This was more entertaining than even I expected.”
He smiled at her. “It’s on you. Your good at your job. You managed the impossible – you put me at ease.”
Sensing the two had more to say, the camerawoman grabbed the camera, set it over her shoulder and tackled the duffle and headed off to the van.
Tanya couldn’t help but smile at her retreating back. She knew darn well that Amelia had done it hoping the two would hit it off and set up another meet…probably a date…in Amelia’s style.
“Listen, I realize your probably busy, but what say we meet again, but for dinner…say Saturday night, you name the place and time,” Zack suggested.
“That actually sounds like a great idea. Let’s see…dressy or casual…any preferences?”
“Your choice.”
“Ok, then Red’s Steak House out on I 95.”
“Great choice. I’m looking forward to it.”
She handed him a card containing her personal contact information and said, “If something comes up, you can contact me there, or leave a message. Either way, I’ll get back to you.” He asked her for her phone and when she handed it over, he entered his information in and said, “Same goes.”
“Take care, see you then,” he smiled walking alongside her up the hill to the parking lot where he veered off and headed toward his own vehicle. “Nice!” he smiled his pleasure.
At the van, Tanya nudged Amelia with her elbow, “You did that on purpose.”
“And did it work?”
Grudgingly Tanya admitted it had and they had a dinner date on Saturday to which Amelia danced a little jig. “Oh yeah, oh yeah!” Tanya laughed outright. “Your incorrigible.”
“But you love me anyway!”
“Weeeel…”
Nudging Tanya she said, “Course you do..what’s not to love?”

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