A Taste of Blackmail

A satiric and fictional brotherly love mystery starring Craig LaBan. Yes, that Craig LaBan!

By Jacob Lambert
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 5 | Posted Jul. 30, 2008

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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."

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Comments 1 - 5 of 5
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1. Jane said... on Jul 30, 2008 at 05:31AM


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2. Gary S. said... on Jul 30, 2008 at 06:42AM

“Absolutely, positively Four Bells!!! Loved it!”

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3. karen said... on Jul 30, 2008 at 09:03AM

“love this, and am very very sad that the mystery is solved and it's over....i need more!”

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4. Mr. Pitiful said... on Aug 3, 2008 at 04:59PM

“Journalists seem to have gotten this weird bug lately (I guess maybe since gawker started treating them like celebrities?) where they think the average man on the street cares as much about journalists as journalists do. See also: when even the potential of a newspaper strike got more coverage in the weeklies than all the murders that year combined. See also: how the fifth season of the Wire got exponentially more coverage than any other season. See also: Tara Murtha's recent cover story, "Four-fifthsTara Murtha's opinion on and personal experience of Lyme Disease, one-fifth information about Lyme Disease." The only people who know who the hell the writer here is satirizing, or whatever you want to call, it are people who work in Philadelphia media. This reads like fan fiction. If media people want to masturbate over themselves, they should go get a blog like everyone else.”

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5. Guest said... on Aug 4, 2008 at 06:07AM

“Mr. Pitiful: I might agree with you -- except that I saw plenty of people reading this story with smiles on their faces, reading it aloud to each other.”


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