Posted on

Aye, aye skippers

An eerie silence had settled over a newsroom devoid of even keyboard chatter. A lone drop of sweat dangled from my nose as I stared at the phone. Expressionless and motionless except for my unfocused efforts at nail biting, I resolved to face my fate like North Harrison students at a graduation ceremony, with solemnity and dignity.
There was a ring and Jackie Carpenter answered. ‘Yes? … I see.’ she said. She turned to me and gave a nod. We had all been expecting it, and now it came: an invitation to Corydon Central High School’s senior barbecue. Was it a trap for the man who ‘dissed’ on Senior Skip Day? No doubt.
Kodak Easy Share camera in one hand and miniature notebook in the other, I took a deep breath and set out across the football field. The seniors stood shoulder to shoulder watching me silently.
‘Steady,’ one of them said.
‘Steady,’ he said again as I continued my approach, strangely reminded of the film ‘Braveheart.’
Their masses parted to reveal a charging Panthers football team. The first thing I found myself asking: ‘Why does it have to be the first Panthers team in more than a decade with a winning record? That probably means they will hurt more.’
I tried to slow the charge.
‘Remember my Zimmerman Flair filled with Corydon track triumphs; the retiring teachers’ Flair; the CCHS Merit Scholar profile; the senior projects I photographed; my Lady Panthers and Lady Cats basketball column outlining the combined sectional dominance of those teams?’ I said.
‘There you go again, bringing up the Lady Cats,’ a member of the unruly mob responded as they quickly forgot all those times I slaved until my fingers ached, motivated not by a desire for monetary gain, but compelled as if by instinct to serve my alma mater with quality coverage. Or something like that.
‘Yeah, and you left out the column where you called us vandals,’ another said.
I replied, ‘I told you all track season that that wasn’t mine. Even as I cheered you on in the 400, you persecuted me for a column I never wrote. The humanity.’
It was then that a powerlifting lineman, still angry about my lecture on the few practical and athletic applications of bench press, decleated me. And I was wearing penny loafers.
Laying on the ground next to my mangled Kodak Easy Share camera and tattered miniature notebook, I made a final plea.
‘Wasn’t the Senior Skip Day article the perfect blend of informational news writing and heart-warming prose? Didn’t the subtle use of allegory and metaphor, pinch of alliteration and dash of unique and curious adjectives tickle your literary fancy during the 20-minutes silent reading?’ I asked.
‘Look, his blood isn’t blue … and I think he is starting to cry,’ a student remarked.
‘CCHS track rules! And golf too!’ I said with sincerity and an underlying tone of desperation.
The sound of music filled the air. At first I thought it was a clarion call, ushering mighty forces from O’Bannon Publishing to my aid, but then it was clearly Nelly singing ‘Hot in Here.’ The students began dancing, I ate hot dogs, and a good time was had by all.