"Just a minute! You can't fire me. I've been editor here for 20 years. And what's wrong the paper the way it is?"
"It's a snooze, that's what. All politics and foreign affairs. Just look at this headline: 'House passes watered-down patients-rights bill.' Who'd want to read that? Why don't you just run a headline that says, 'Don't buy this paper. Save your money and get more cable channels.'"
"I resent that. Health care is news."
"So, you should have run this story: Some guy in North Carolina was in the hospital for 34 days, and they gave him a bill for 5.2 million bucks. That's health care."
"Didn't he have insurance?"
"That's not the point! You keep running all this inane Washington junk. 'A senator says the phrase "So help me God" has been getting dropped when people take oaths. He says Congress is trying to "demote God."' Are you kidding with this? "
"He's very concerned. He thinks we need to look into it."
"You're going to be looking into the unemployment office. Here's another stiff: 'The House passed a bill with a $1 million fine and 10-year prison term for anyone caught cloning.' How would you catch someone cloning?"
"I don't know. Maybe you have to use a lot of electricity? Like when they catch people growing pot plants?"
"Enough! Don't you understand? We're looking for news that's new. Different. Exciting. Now, here's the kind of story I'm talking about: A man in Texas got shot in the head with a nail gun."
"Okay, I'll run it in the home-improvement section. We can always re-schedule that layout on pool liners."
"Run it on the front page! And this one, too: They're sending condom machines to Antarctica."
"Front page! Don't you know that sex sells?"
"Do we have to? I mean, we just ran that story on the big controversy over nude artwork on the floor of the Los Angeles airport."
"You call that sexy? I've seen more happening on the floor at a bus station."
"Fine! I suppose you'll also want to make a big splash with that story in Colorado, that site with 65-million-year-old dinosaur fossils where they're building a golf course?"
"Good! Now, you're getting the idea. And see if you can get a picture of Tiger Woods."
"He's a celebrity, for God's sake. You can run it next to that guy from R.E.M. who pleaded innocent to being drunk on a British aircraft. And find out what other crazy stuff is illegal over there."
"Yes. Get rid of everything in the paper about George Bush. We'll replace it with a three-part series on scary car names - Dodge Viper, Plymouth Prowler. Here's the lead: 'Would you buy an automobile that sounds like somebody's breaking into your house?'"
"Excuse me, Mr. Kovacs, there's a phone call for you."
"Who is it?"
"Chandra Levy. She wants to know when she can come out."
"Tell her just a few more days. Be patient, and whatever she wants from room service is on me."
Copyright 2001 Newrite, Inc. All rights reserved. GLW's on WGN Radio AM 720 and (http://www.wgnradio.com). Coming soon: (http://www.newsjunkie.net).