A satiric and fictional brotherly love mystery starring Craig LaBan. Yes, that Craig LaBan!
There was a chill in the air as I trudged up Broad Street. The breeze forced my hands into my pockets, a Chesterfield tucked into the corner of my mouth. The big white tower at 400 N. Broad loomed ahead like a heap of garlic mashed potatoes.
I shook my head as I looked up at the 10th-floor newsroom. Marimow had been riding me about deadline all week, but he'd get his precious 1,000 words. And as usual, they'd be good. Damn good.
I flicked the butt aside as I entered the lobby. "Mornin', Craig," the guard said, smiling over his paper. I nodded and headed for the elevator. I'd usually stop and kick around last night's Phils game with him, maybe ask about the missus. But not today--not with a BYOB review to knock out.
When the elevator doors opened, I humped in with the herd--advertising types, mostly--slicked-back hair, bad suits and enough cologne to bring down a grass-fed steer. I spotted Saffron in the back. She gave me that Ing-a-ding look of hers, but I didn't give. You had to watch your step with a dame like that.
The newsroom was alive with the usual racket--the phones, the yelling, the click-clacking of keyboards. I murmured hellos to the boys in sports, poured a hot cup of Arabica, beat it to my office and shut the door. I slung my coat over the chair and grabbed the Glenfiddich from the drawer. I topped off the cup and settled in with my breakfast, letting the single-malt do its work. It was barely 10 o'clock.
"Goddamnit, LaBan! Where's my review?"
It was Marimow, bursting through the door, right on schedule.
"Thought I'd take the day off," I said, grinning wide.
I turned to the window and gazed out at the skyline. I could feel his rage mounting like hot cappuccino foam.
"Damn you, LaBan, don't think you can waltz in here like you own the place--and don't think I don't know what's in that cup!"
I turned in my seat and gave him my most guileless face.
"Coffee? It's a popular morning drink in most cultures," I said, pulling the fifth out for another dollop. "You should try it sometime."
At that, he came around my desk, pointing his finger and doing the old furrowed-brow act.
"Listen, LaBan, and listen good. I can get someone from the goddamn Bulletin to write about food, and we both know it. So cut out the sauce and get to work."
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide