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Short Story: "Authenticity" (6th of a series)

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"Report what happened."

"To who? The morons who print the daily fishwrap? That rag's so far up the butts of the syndicate who owns it that it's a wonder they don't get paper cuts when they crap."

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She gestured skywards. "Look, we've got to do something. Once that video hits the airwaves, all anyone's going to talk about is the tangled commute and the cost of rebuilding the highway."

"And you think there's something you can do about that?"

Her resolve hardening, she turned to go. "You're damn right."

"So where're you off to?"

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"The Spectator."

*   *   *

"Say again?"

Marjha tried to ignore the din from the scurry of activity in the Sidewalk Spectator's storefront office and made fierce eye contact with the editor, a bearded ex-GI named Frank. "I said," her voice sharper this time, "we were under the highway when it came down. We just saw at least a half-dozen people crushed to death."

"What do you expect me to do about it? We've got a two-week news cycle, and the paper's already been run up. It's not like we can just toss them out and start over."

"You can stick an insert into them, can't you? Don't you get it? This is a goddam scoop!"

Buzz, who'd been standing near the door and eyeing the exit uneasily, suddenly closed on Frank, which made the man flinch. "Look, crewcut," he said, "I've been living under that highway on and off for about a year now. Bits and pieces have been working loose for the past week, and the DOT inspector they sent down a few months ago just gave it a pass. I watched him. Didn't climb up there to examine the braces or nothing. If you ask me there's some money changed hands over this deal."

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"Okay, okay. So maybe we can sneak a flier into the papers. What do you expect to happen? It's not like we're the newspaper of record, you know."

"You're right," she said. "It's not. But they're not covering the deaths of six people and you can."

"You can do more'n that," Buzz said. "You can wipe their noses in it. Scooping all of the so-called "legitimate media' in this town is gonna get you noticed. Or are you afraid that someone might actually read this rag?"

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Ever since I learned to speak binary on a DIGIAC 3080 training computer, I've been involved with tech in one way or another, but there was always another part of me off exploring ideas and writing about them. Halfway to a BS in Space Technology at (more...)

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