Mar. 1st, 2007

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With the arrival of May, Gotham City basked in sunlight. Or at least its sparse, poorly kept parkland did. The rest of the city merely accepted hints of sunshine between the buildings. But at least it was mild, and not rainy, and (barring another breakout by Lex Luthor) winter was behind Gotham.

Knox took the opportunity to get some fresh air. He was still not quite up to snuff, his cold lingering in his throat and sinuses, his shoulder still giving him some trouble. Rapunzel’s tender mercies helped a lot, at least psychologically. So did doing nothing for a few days, first in the Bar and then back at home. But he’s never been good at doing nothing for too long, and knew that Gotham wouldn’t be this nice for long, so he went walking.

Along the way, he bought the day’s papers. The recall election was a sure thing, with just a few legalities in the way, and Hamilton Hill was the front-runner. Things were so bad for Borg that no one was even talking about him anymore, always a bad sign. Knox took note of the differences between the outgoing mayor and his likely successor, and started making mental notes for a column he would love to write.

He stopped at the library. Here was a place that simply didn’t exist for him for most of his adult life. But without the resources of the Globe at his fingers, he needed a new research facility. Not surprisingly, the local branch of the GPL was rather poor. He was able to find microfilm of the local papers and phonebooks, and at least make a list of local homeless shelters that (in theory) help teenagers. When he was feeling better, he would possibly head downtown and at least see if they exist. For the moment, though, he didn’t stay in the library too long as the musty air was adding to his congestion.

His route took him through Kane Park, a bit of grass and tree and playground, and he sat for a while, reading his papers and catching his breathe. He wasn’t sure how much of the muscle aches he’d felt after the snowball fight were from the cold and now much were from the fight itself, but he was quite sure he needed to take better care of himself. Especially if he was going to try to keep up with his little pack of teenagers. Or Rapunzel, for that matter. Not that he’d exercised once in his life.

Kane Park was a good hour-long rest-stop, and Knox watched the kids and their mothers play, got a soda (but not a hot dog), and did two crossword puzzles. He was never good at crossword puzzles, but he missed the group effort in the newsroom to finish the complex Sunday puzzles that the Tribune was famed for.

As rush hour neared, Knox was back home, a fresh cup of tea at hand. The walk might have been therapeutic, but it wore him out. A couple more days of rest were probably still in order. Rest, and silence, as his voice was ever more froggy.

The day was not quite done with him, as the phone rang.

“Knox, is that you? You sound terrible.” It was Bert Teller, his possible future editor at PM..

“Gee, thanks, Bert. You should hear me sing.”

“I’ll pass. Gotta minute?”

“One minute. Nothing more.” No reason to be nice to Teller, Knox still thought.

“Good, since this is quick and I prefer to read you bums, not talk to you. We want to give you a longer tryout. Four more columns. In the next two months. No promises, no strings attached, same rate as before. Any topic, but we’d like one on the election. You heard the word?” Knox could guess

“They announced the recall?”

“Yup. June 12. And Villard already handed in his column. So you better get cracking.”

“You can’t rush art.”

“I can rush you.” Knox began to think that maybe Teller tried only the people he liked this way. Or was that just delirium from his cold? “One other thing. I don’t agree with this, but the big bosses lifted the ban on the Bat. So knock yourself out.” Knox went quiet for a moment, and started to grin. He really didn’t think he would get to do that again. He wasn’t sure he needed to, in fact. But he was still glad to hear this.

“That I can have for you fast.” He was sure that at the other end, the editor was sneering in silence.

“Just as long as we see something in a timely fashion. And remember, this is just a tryout. Nothing more.”

“Nothing more. Right.”

The call ended, Knox flopped onto the couch, and turned on the local news to hear about the recall. He still felt tired and achy and had no intention of getting to work on this day. But he spent the rest of the night in a big grin.


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November 2011


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