Washington, DC – Friday, Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m. EST
Anna beamed at Viktor, who was dumbfounded that any of the supposed sources in the Mirror story were real people.
Blinking and shaking his head in disbelief, Viktor added the chopped vegetables, ginger and oil to the sauté pan. “Jesus. That’s amazing. What did they say?”
“The guy Walker Maslow was especially fed up,” Anna explained. “He said the Mirror story was full of misquotes, and he’d never do an interview again, since we write whatever we want anyway.”
“Great.” Viktor slapped his hand on the counter. “Glad to hear Green is out there holding up the highest journalistic standards!”
“In both cases, the sources’ qualifying statements were taken out of context and twisted.”
“Specifics?” he asked, seasoning the sizzling vegetables with salt and pepper.
“Well, Rose Gibson—the former colleague—said she did say what happened to Channarong’s son was sad, but she also told Green that Channarong had handled it well, and the son was on the road to recovery, thanks to an excellent rehab in Virginia.”
“Of course, Green never wrote about that part.”
“Right. And Maslow said Green asked leading questions, like ‘If Channarong left the Bank, could he have avoided personnel conflicts and earned more money?’”
“Jesus," Viktor repeated, shaking his head.
“Maslow said she shoehorned his replies into a ‘pre-cooked’ story.”
“Jordan Green is a ‘she’. Maslow told me.”
“What else do you know about her?”
“Not much. Maslow got the impression she’s young, but I couldn’t find her bio, not even on the Mirror’s website or ‘about us’ page or staff directory. Of course, I called the bureau and left messages—both for her and the bureau chief—but I don’t know who her unnamed sources were, or if they exist. As you can imagine, Green never talked to me—or even tried to. I doubt she talked to Canter Wang either. I have a couple of calls in to her too.”
“Check this out,” said Viktor, who had been searching the web on his phone while keeping an eye on the vegetables. “When I was in college, the Mirror used to exploit its college interns pretty badly—you know, under the guise of training. So, I searched ‘Jordan Green journalism,’ and I found this person,” he said, showing a picture to Anna. “See—a female Jordan Green at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland. Her internet profile says she aspires to become a writer. It looks like she graduated from high school last year. I could be wrong, but I bet that’s her.”
“It would explain the botch job. Someone probably fed her the whole thing. Thanks.”
“No sweat. Look, her email address is on her profile.”
“I could shoot her an email right now.”
“And say what? That she’s a shitty journalist?”
“No!” Anna laughed. “I could say…I read her story, and want to talk to her about it. That’s all. Go from there.”
“Give it a shot.”
Anna threw the email together and sent it. “Interesting,” she said. “Her vacation responder is on. It says she’ll be out of the country for a few weeks, checking her email sporadically.”
“Weird time of year for a college student to be away. Hope she’s in better shape than Evy.”
“Ugh,” Anna said.
“What about an editor or somebody else at the Mirror?”
“Sometimes, Mirror people show up at Karl’s, you know, that beer garden I told you about, where all the Hill people go. Maybe my friend Mel knows someone.”
“Does she still work on the Hill?”
Anna nodded. “She’s now the foreign affairs L.A. for Senator Bakerton. Covers defense, homeland security and intelligence. Same as us really, except she writes talking points, reports and briefing papers solely for him.”
“Cool job. Good for her,” he said. “What about other people at the Bank?”
“The whole place is on lockdown, following orders from the mothership. Radio silence.”
“Even Channarong’s assistant?” Viktor asked.
“Especially her. Her name is Sara Reedman. I left her a bunch of messages too. Rumor had it they were having an affair.”
“Channarong and his assistant, Reedman,” Anna replied. “And yet, I find that hard to believe,” Anna continued. “It doesn’t fit.”
“Since when has that stopped anybody?”
“It is so, like, twenty years ago,” she said. “At this point, it’s surprising any old dog would make a move on an assistant. Wasn’t he worried he’d be accused of harassment? And why would she want that kind of relationship? Anyway, Sara took some time off, at least according to the head of media relations. But that makes sense, right? It’s understandable. All I can do is hope she will consider my plea and give me a call.”
“Dinner is ready,” Viktor said, frowning at a series of text messages that had popped up on is phone. “I’ll deal with these afterward.”
Copyright © by Wolf Bahren. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher with “permission requests” in the subject line at email@example.com. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.