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Dirty Daddy(4)

By:Alexis Angel

“You’re early,” one of the new interns yawns, stretching out his arms as I walk inside the main floor of the New York Daily Journal office. “I’ve heard the boss wants to see you,” he adds, attacking the cup of coffee in front of him with lazy movements. There are bags under his eyes and, judging by the way he’s slumping over his desk now, I’m betting he was on call the whole night, doing edits and re-edits on articles that are supposed to be buried deep in the newspaper. I remember my days as an unpaid intern during the summers, and I can sum them up with two words only: not fun.

“Thank you, Hank,” I reply with a smile, reading the name from the ID card hanging from his breast pocket. He throws me a half-asleep smile, and then he’s back to his laptop, his fingers lazily banging at the keyboard.

I stroll toward the Editor-in-Chief’s office, the one at the end of the main room, and make my way through the dozens of still-empty desks filling the whole place. I rap my knuckles against the door, and a heartbeat after that I hear a familiar voice replying.

“Come in!” I hear my mother say, and I push the door open and step inside. Yep, you’ve heard it right; my mother, Rhoda Wright, is the ‘boss’ around here. But don’t think I’m working here just because she’s my mother. In fact, that’s one of the reasons behind the fact that I work so hard: I don’t want to live under her shadow.

She’s sitting behind her massive desk now, a monstrosity made out of oak that dominates the whole room, and goes up to her feet the moment I get in.

“G’morning,” I greet her, “I heard you wanted to see me and I --,” I trail off as I see a woman sitting in front of her desk, forgetting what I was about to say. She turns around on her seat to face me, and I can’t help but be surprised as I realize that the woman right in front of me is the Mayor of New York City herself.

“Penny, this is Laurel Trask, the mayor,” my mother introduces her (as if someone like Laurel Trask needed an introduction), and the mayor gets up from her seat with a polite smile and offers me her hand. I take it in mine, still surprised, and shake it.

“It’s an honor,” I say, and I mean it. It takes a tough woman to get to mayor in this city, and Laurel Trask is all that, and some more. No wonder, though; it seems that there’s a do-or-die quality in her family. She is, after all, the sister of the former mayor, Parker ‘Pleasure’ Trask, now a senator (and right on his way to the presidency).

I was still months away from graduating when Parker Trask entered on a collision course with the Governor, and I still hate the fact that I wasn’t yet a journalist when that battle for New York began. Can you imagine how exciting those times must've been for a journalist? I can.

“Likewise,” Laurel replies, shaking my hand firmly and yet softly. She’s still young, probably in her mid-thirties, and she looks as beautiful as any catwalk model. I guess the Trask family seems to be on good terms with the genetics of beauty. “It’s also an honor to meet the daughter of the woman who turned the New York Daily Journal into what it is today. Your mother tells me you show great promise.”

“Thank you, you’re very kind,” I respond with a smile as my mother waves us both to the seats in front of her desk. “So, to what do we owe your visit?”

“Well, Laurel here has read your latest article about Magnus and his antics at the Nailers’ last game.”

“I did, and from that piece alone I can see you’ll make a name for yourself if you keep at it, Penny,” she adds, crossing her legs and staring at me.

“Thank you, but I still don’t understand what --”

“You see, Penny,” Laurel cuts me short, reaching for me and placing one of her delicate hands on top of mine, “some men are more dangerous than what they seem to be, and Magnus is one of these men. While the public loves him, he’s like a disease that has settled deep inside the bones of New York, and it’s my job to stop him before he rots this whole city.”

I nod, looking straight into her eyes and seeing a pleasant fierceness burning there. She doesn’t like Magnus, that much I can see. But, then again, how can anyone like someone as self-centered as Magnus? He’s a disgrace to this city.

“We can’t have him profiting off our city while he steps on our morals and values,” she continues, and I find myself nodding at every word she says. “As it is, I want to ban him from doing any construction business in the city going forward.”

“Even the Equinox Tower?”

“Even the Equinox Tower, Penny.”