Kit (Chicago Blaze #8) - Brenda Rothert Page 0,1

much as someone who’s been here longer.”

Lou lets out one of his trademark throaty smoker’s laughs. “If we all got what we deserved, I’d be on a beach in Tahiti sipping mai tais served by supermodels right now. But reality’s a bitch, Lynch. No one’s interviewing Oprah. All the reporters got assigned someone, so you’re stuck with whoever you got.”

I look at my watch again. “Can you just tell me? I need to be out of here in three minutes.”

Lou looks down at the paper on his desk. “Looks like you were assigned Kit Carter.”


Lou squints as he tries to make out the rest of the words in front of him. “Apparently he’s a Chicago Blaze player.”

“A hockey player?” I gape at Lou. “But I don’t know anything about hockey.”

He shrugs. “Well, it’s a personal profile, so you can work around that.”

“Shouldn’t one of the sports guys do this one?”

Lou gives me a wry look. “It’s sports reporters, Lynch; we’ve got several women in the sports department.”

I shake my head, frustrated by Lou, the most un-politically correct employee at the Gazette. “You know what I mean. I’d be much better suited for a profile on a city official.”

“This is the one you got. No trading assignments. You’ve got five weeks to write a three thousand word profile on this guy.”

I throw my hands in the air. “Three thousand words? That’s a ton. Why don’t I just write a novel about him?”

“Lynch, the bigger special sections are, the more ads they can hold.”

“Yeah, but…alright…I’ll do my best, but I don’t write puff pieces to begin with. I don’t see how I’ll come up with a hundred column inches about what a swell guy he is.”

“Take it in any direction you want,” Lou says as I stand up. “Nick from the sports department will help you get credentialed.”

I sigh heavily. “Okay. Is that all, or do you need me to run the printing press, too? Maybe vacuum the newsroom at the end of every day?”

“Part reporter, part comedian,” Lou grumbles, picking up a cigar from an ashtray on his desk. He can’t smoke them, so he chews on them instead. Disgusting. “Get the hell out of my office.”

I book it back to my desk, pausing only to grab my notebook and pen and shove them in my bag.

“Wait, what the hell is this?” I say to no one, pulling the pen back out of my tote.

It’s a blue pen with a cap on the end—not one of mine. I scan my desk for another loose pen, then check the cup of around a dozen black ballpoint gel pens I have next to my computer monitor.



From my low, ominous tone and narrowed eyes, it probably looks like I’m considering murdering my colleague. But really, I just want to kick him squarely in the balls while wearing steel-toed boots.

“What’s up?” Theo says from his desk, which is directly across from mine.

“Look, I have,” I glance down at my watch, “about twenty seconds before I have to be out of here for a presser. Give me my pens.” I hold my hand out, waiting expectantly.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” His stare stays fixed on his monitor.

“Theo, this stopped being funny about 85 pens ago. Give. Me. My. Pens.”

“Lynch, you just put a pen in your bag. I don’t see the problem.”

I only use one specific brand of black ballpoint gel pens, and I buy them myself because the Gazette stocks the supply cabinet with the cheap stuff. Several of my co-workers think it’s funny to steal my pens because it’s one of the only ways to rattle me.

“You’re a fifty-something father of three,” I remind Theo. “This is completely immature behavior you’re supposed to be above.”

“I’m forty-eight and you know it,” Theo says lightly, tapping away on his keyboard.

“Well, you don’t look a day over fifty-four,” I shoot back. “Give me my fucking pens, Theo.”

Theo turns his chair so he’s facing me. “You need to live a little, Lynch. Walk through the newsroom door at 7:25 a.m. for once, or 7:37, or hell…between 8:00 and 9:00 like the rest of us. You walk out of the elevator at precisely 7:30 every morning, and then leave your desk at 7:40 to make a cup of green tea in that ugly-ass green mug. Your notebook pages are perfectly filled with perfectly-penned words written only in those black pens of yours. Really nice pens, by the way. I have some myself.”

I scowl at Theo. “Your poor