Sunday, March 26, 2017

#SundaySample - WIP - Carter

Ever had one of those characters that just gets inside your head demanding a voice?  Well, Andi Carter has really made herself a nuisance lately, especially since I'm working hard on another WIP.  I find her rude, crude and somewhat socially unacceptable, but as her story unfolds I'm beginning to understand where that attitude comes from.  Have a lovely weekend!


“The master summons you, lassie. You’d best be hopping to it.”
“Screw you, Irish.” Andi Carter stubbed out the cigarette she’d just lit, sighed and glanced at the editor’s office. I’m not changing one damn word of that article. She stood, smoothed out the wrinkles of her pants, rolled down her shirt sleeves and picked up her jacket.
Shamus O’Conner glanced at her and grinned broadly. “About that offer to screw me, Andi.”
Andi leaned across his desk, placing her hands firmly in front of her, her face only inches from his and whispered, “When hell freezes over….lad.” She waited a second or two for his witty, and usually stupid comeback, but he swallowed hard and looked away from her.
“I was only kidding. Give a lad a break, will you. Today’s me birthday, and I just turned twenty-one. Legal at the pubs now.” He picked up a folder and held it out to her. “Don’t forget your file.”
Andi took the manila folder and studied the curly red hair and freckled face of her newest apprentice. She actually loved his Irish accent, and she had a feeling if asked he’d take a bullet for her. That was the problem, he was just a kid.  “Well, Happy Birthday, Irish, but if you want to live to see twenty-two you’ll tone down that sense of humor, and grow a pair.”
 She glanced longingly at the crumpled cigarette before stalking toward Matt Sinclair’s closed door. All she’d ever wanted to do was be a top-notch investigative reporter with a major newspaper, or television station. So how the hell did I wind up thirty five years old, and still at this shitty hole in the wall?
The answer to that question carried quite a sting—legs too short, hair too stringy and teeth not white enough. Even if she fixed her hair, and whitened her teeth, she’d still look somewhat like a blind dog in a meat market in those short, contoured dresses and high heels. So what if she took a little creative licensure with her articles. She called a spade a spade, and an ass an ass. Sinclair should appreciate that, the readers certainly did. Her articles have increased the circulation of the Daily Drudge by fifty percent in the last six months. Taking a deep breath Andi expelled it and opened the door. “You wanted to see me?”
“Close the door, Carter.” Sinclair glared at her from behind his hundred year old tattered oak desk. “And take a seat.”
Andi pulled up a chair near the desk, and sat down, immediately leaning back, crossing her legs and folding her arms over her chest. She’d studied body language and she’d be damn if she’d let his icy glare intimidate her. “So, what’s up?”
“What’s up!” Sinclair tossed the paperwork he’d been reading across the desk. “You can’t call the mayor’s wife a lush, dressed like a floozy. That’s what’s up.”
Andi felt the twitch and bit down on her bottom lip to keep from laughing. She’d never wanted to cover the mayor’s political dinner, and had told Sinclair as much.  What she really wanted was something she could sink her teeth into. Something cold, dark and dangerous. “I call it like I see it. That’s why your reader’s love me.”
Sinclair ran a hand over his eyes, sighed and lowered his voice. “Change it, Andi. Comment on her dress, her hair, her makeup. Be creative and give the readers something out of Vogue. As much as we don’t like politics, we have to live with them. The mayor is a powerful man.” He waved a trembling hand at the article. “I can’t print that.”
 The trembling hand and the fact he’d used her first name was a dead giveaway of just how scared he was she’d pack up and walk out before she’d change an article. And I would if I had any other options, but I need this stinking job. “All right, on one condition.”
Sinclair eyed her suspiciously. “What kind of condition? We’re barely making ends meet. I can’t afford to pay you more.”
Andi uncrossed her legs, placed her hands on her knees and leaned forward. “No more political dinners. A ten year old could cover those things. I’ve been listening to the police scanners and I want to cover crime. You agree to that and I’ll change the article.”
“We don’t have a crime section.” Sinclair frowned, avoiding looking at her as he shuffled files on his desk. “What makes you think our readers would even want to read that?”
Andi walked to his trash can and pulled out a paper. “Because ninety percent of the people in this God forsaken city are buying the Tribune. “ She tossed the paper on his desk and grinned. “Even you.” She tapped the front page, a huge article on the influx of drugs and prostitution. “They’re not buying it for the celebrity posts, they’re buying it for this. If you want to make money, then you’ll start competing. And you need an online site. You’re missing out on a lot of sales simply because you’re cheap. It takes money to make money.”  
 Sinclair’s lips puckered, pulling the wrinkles tighter as he tapped a pen against the desk. “You got a story?”
A surge of excitement rushed through her. “Not yet, but the stories are out there. All I have to do is hit the pavement.”
Sinclair was nodding thoughtfully and she knew he was comparing the cost of ink and paper to the giddy idea of increased circulation and money in his pocket. “All right. We’ll try it for one week. If sales don’t improve, you go back to covering local events. If they improve we’ll look into the online site.”
Andi grinned picked up her file and the article. “I’ll have this back to you in five.”
Shamus was watching for her, a concerned look on his face. I guess he figures if I got fired he’d be out of a job too. Andi dropped the article on his desk. “Take out the lush and floozy part and write something flowery.”
“The hell you say, there’s nothing flowery about the wench. If it weren’t for all the liquor in her blood she could be called the ice queen.”
“Come on, Irish, you can think of something I’m sure. Get it back to Sinclair in five, and I’ll buy your first legal drink. We’ve got work to do before morning.”
 “Now you’re talking.” Shamus grabbed the article and turned on his computer.  In minutes his fingers were tapping away at the keys. “How this? The lovely Divina Morgan shined in regal form as she toasted her husband’s supporters with exuberance, dressed in a form fitting piece of pure magic.”
Andi laughed, shook her head and stuffed a note pad in her purse. “It sucks, but Sinclair will love it. Print it, give it to him and grab your jacket.”
He was back in seconds pulling on his coat. “Are you really taking me to a pub?”
“O’Reillys, down on Fifteenth.”
Shamus frowned. “Isn’t that where all the Garda hang out?”
 “Yep, and that’s where the best stories are.” Andi strolled out in front of him. “Listen, Irish,  you need to get your language right. It’s bars in America, and we call them cops or the police.”
He moved ahead of her to open the door. “My name’s not Irish, it’s Shamus O’Conner.”
Andi brushed past him. “A broken nose would ruin that pretty face of yours, so if you want to hang out with me, learn the language.”


Stop by and say hi!  

No comments:

Post a Comment