Saturday, October 27, 2007


So one day, The OMG Story gods paid me a visit.

A glorious you-have-got-to-be-shitting-me-but thankyoujeesus visit.

I was sitting at my desk in the newsroom reading the *yawn* yearly financial report for the Port Arthur Independent School District when in walked a student and his mama.

I heard them ask the secretary for me by name. She pointed over to me and they walked over to me and said "We've got a story for you."

Me: "Sit down while I get me some coffee."


I just KNEW their "story" was going to be yet another kill-me-I'm-so-bored tale of athletic accomplishments or whatever.

I got my coffee, came back to my desk, sat down facing them on the other side of my desk, and flipped open my reporter's notebook.

Me: "Begin."

Boy Student: "We're in love and want to get married and the School Board is trying to force me to resign as local and national chairman of DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America)."


Boy Student: "And they want my sponsor, Marty here, to resign her teaching job."

OK, now that got my attention. My full, undivided attention.

Me: "Do tell."

They did.

On a personal note here, let me just say I never missed a beat frantically scribbling my notes, not even when I'd have to stop a sec and pick my jaw up off the floor.

45 minutes later....

I am F-L-Y-I-N-G (running full-tilt) across the newsroom into my editor's office.

Me: "Dub, you are NOT going to believe this."

I tell him the story.

Editor Dub: "Holy shit. Do NOT let them leave before I can find Mike (the photog), you hear me? And get that story written. NOW."


Editor Dub (looking out from his office to THEM): "She must be his first piece."

Student Boy was a senior in high school, honors student, athlete, yada yada who had been offered a full scholarship at the Air Force Academy. Immensely popular, he was first elected President of the local DECA, then elected President of the NATIONAL DECA.

The woman I first thought was his MAMA was a teacher in the PAISD and the local DECA teacher sponsor.

They were "in love."

Had been since the year before, when he was 16 years old, and she was pushing 40.

And the School Board was putting the squeeze on 'em.

Because the School Board did not want the oh-so-dirty-little-secret-scandal to get out.

The oh-so-dirty-little-secret-scandal that was, AT THAT MOMENT, being written by me, looked over by Editor Dub, and placed FRONT & TOP (along with accompanying color photo of the lovebirds) on next day's edition.


And just as an aside here, Boy Student was handsome, too. Oh, and the son of a prominent local pediatrician.

And Marty, his "love" and teacher and sponsor, looked pretty much like a

only pudgier (I'm being nice here) and with dozens, maybe hundreds (don't know exactly, didn't count 'em) of moles (various sizes) on her face & neck.

Anyhoo, after putting the story to bed, I went home.

Now, as is the custom in all newspapers, my editor submitted the story to the Associated Press (AP) and went on about his business.

Next morning.....

I walk into the newsroom.

A newsroom that is utter pandemonium, with print reporters & TV cameras jammed assholes-to-elbows in there.

Editor Dub: "Hill, in my office. NOW."

Me: "What the hell's going on?"

Editor Dub: "AP picked up the story."

Me: "Oh."

Voletta, the newsroom secretary, came stomping in. Voletta was a tall, large Black woman who tolerated me and absolutely hated all white peoples. I once saw her lift Drew Neiman (yes, of the Neiman-Marcus bunch), one of our reporters, OFF the floor (seriously, his feet came OFF the floor) when she bitch-slapped him across the face 'cause he "playfully" bumped her car with his. 30 minutes later, Voletta had 3 dozen red roses delivered to her courtesy of Drew Neiman.

Voletta (holding a HUGE stack of those pink phone note thingies): "Hill, girl, I ain't your personal secretary."

Me: "Yes, Ma'am."

Ya'll, there were phone messages from reporters all over the country, Australia, England, South America, Japan, Canada and several from some new TV person named Oprah. Never had heard of her.


You gotta remember, this all happened BEFORE confessional TV was in vogue, so an overachiever boy student hooked up with his ass-ugly way older female teacher was unheard of.

And this was how I met a


He showed up dripping $$$$.

NE Reporter: "Come write for us."

Me: "Why?"

NE Reporter: "We pay really good."

Me: "How much?"

NE Reporter: "$80,000 a year."

I was making $17,000 a year at the newspaper.

Me: "Fuck."


Me: "What do I have to do for that $80,000 a year?"

NE Reporter: "Move to Florida."

Me: "Shit."

NE Reporter: "Keep your passport on you at all times. Never know when you'll have to hop on a plane on a moment's notice."

Me: "Shit."

NE Reporter: "Do whatever it takes to get the story."

Me: "Tell."

NE Reporter: "Did you read my story about the woman whose parachute didn't open, broke damn near every bone in her body, but she lived to talk about it?"

Me: "No."

NE Reporter: "That was my story. I pretended to be her cousin and snuck into her hospital room. She was in traction, had a tube in her throat, couldn't move, couldn't talk."


NE Reporter: "I asked her what it felt like to realize her chute wasn't gonna open. She grunted. I wrote down "I started praying 'cause I knew I was gonna die." I asked her what she was thinking as she plummeted toward the ground. She moaned. I wrote down "All I could think of was how much I loved my parents and my boyfriend and how I wished I had taken the time to tell them more often how much they meant to me." I asked her was she prepared to die. She made a gurgling sound. I wrote down "As the moment of my certain death was upon me, I made one last wish and that was that my parents and my beloved boyfriend rejoice in my life, not grieve in my death." And that's how I got my interview with her."



Me: "You MADE UP quotes?"

NE Reporter: "Well, yeah, don't you?"

I didn't go to work for The National Enquirer.

I fucking hate Florida.


© 2007 HillCountryGal

Note: "We're All Alone" - Rita Coolidge

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