I never was all that great at geography, but something about all this just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'd much prefer talking about it. Always had a knack for the storytelling part of it, anyway. And the editors over at The Ocotillo Review and Kallisto Gaia Press seemed to think so, too, because they recently notified me that they planned to publish my fourth story from my Long Gone & Lost collection, which I’ll be turning in for my MFA here in the very near future.
I’m fairly certain that the two fellows from my story would know all about those ill tasting after effects I mentioned, however. They may be all fiction themselves, but they were indeed inspired by real life events in a real life newsrooms. Dave Kindred wrote about a few folks just like these two who, mere days after everybody was riding a high that only those who win six Pulitzers will ever truly know, them and most everyone they knew were handing walking papers from their jobs. That's right, they were fired!
Sure, they may be one of the best papers anywhere, as the Pulitzers might suggest, but they would soon be so with half as many people.
Trust me when I say this, but if that don’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, nothing will.
I read Kindred’s Morning Miracle two years ago now. He wrote about the world famous Washington Post, and how after one of their best years ever, editorially speaking, half the people employed there lost their jobs because subscribers had dropped off and Facebook could do for free what no newspaper ever could.
What’s that, you might ask, that Facebook so excels at? Namely, creating a platform whereby complete strangers could hound and annoy people with enough asinine questions about the glorified junk somebody is selling that folks will actually give shit away–cars, furniture, boats, livestock, you name it–just so they don’t have to answer, yet again, what color that the blue 1985 Ford Tempo that's for sale might be, or what year model it was again, or what make of that model it might be, or–did I happen to mention the color already? I forget…
(I've had some questions arise on that last paragraph from the original posting of this this blog entry on my author website, so I thought it might need some explaining. You see the Marketplace feature of Facebook, the very culprit responsible for obliterating the common classified ad in a newspaper which in turn all but sank your average newspaper in terms of operating revenue, actually rewards such idiotic lines of questioning a product, because its algorithms push to the top of people's displays those items which are most talked about, so a series of completely useless details about said car, or likewise, 110 people entering one word exclamations, like " Nice!" or "P.O.S!!!" the more likely modifier of an 85 Tempo, especially those that receive a response from the author, actually get shown before those that have none. As a result, people now obliterate said site with needless words, getting friends to help even, just to have that piece of crap car show up every time you refresh your page, thereby increasing its likelihood of someone purchasing it. I have no idea, but it was a fact I picked up from a fellow who bulls and resells POS cars on a regular basis. And now you know, as Paul Harvey used to say on the radio, the rest of the story).
But there at the Post, they threw parties one day. Couldn’t be prouder of how hard everybody worked to be just like a blood kin family. A few days later, they had security guards following people out to make sure they didn’t take a stapler that wasn’t theirs. They even fired some of the folks who won Pulitzers, I hear. They had to. They couldn’t afford them anymore.
Sadly, that sort of thing is still very much a reality for some of the folks I know well. In fact, newspapers are nothing like the bastions of economic security they once were. And sure, you gotta feel bad for the guy who tops his profession, only to be rewarded for his efforts with a layoff. But what if those employees fired–the ones the reader gets to know best in the story–are complete and utter slacker morons? I mean they serve a function-- albeit, doing something I don’t want to do--but somebody has to, I guess. Or not. But how would that dynamic affect the story?
I wondered. So, I wrote.
Wound up calling it “Forget the Alamo” (which isn’t near as heretical as it sounds to all my Texas purist friends. At least, I hope not, anyway). I can’t say much more about it, for now. Not until it publishes. They want first publication rights and all.
For more information, and to see a full compendium of items published this year, log on to my author website at https://outlawauthorz.com.