“Coming up, another look at our traffic and weather, every three minutes, only on News 15!”
The entire News 15 studio fell silent except for the resonant buzz of audio-visual machinery, a monotonous soundtrack to the awkward aftermath of one of their most disturbing broadcasts. It wasn’t the story that had bothered everyone — it was the woman who read it.
Christine Spencer, a twenty-year veteran of News 15′s very specific brand of hyperlocal news, neatened the pages of her script, fluffed her blonde layers one more time, and glanced at the crew before getting up to leave.
“Great broadcast, everyone! I’ll see you tomorrow!”
As she left the news desk, her co-anchor, Hamilton Treadwell, stared at her, stone-faced. He watched her bounce out of the studio, her four-inch heels punctuating every chipper step with an echoing clack. She was probably getting a cup of tea. That was what everyone expected her to do. But they had not expected her to maintain her sunny disposition while reading about seven gruesome murders committed by MS-13.
Hamilton broke the silence an excruciating thirty seconds later. “Someone should tell her. Should I do it? I’ll do it.”
“Did she know that all seven murder victims were dead?” Angela, the producer, whispered in Hamilton’s earpiece. She was frozen in her seat in the control room. “I mean, I assumed that if we started the copy with the words ‘horrific tragedy in Islip’ that she would change her face accordingly.”
“Maybe we should have put something in between the mass murder and the weather.” Jessica, who ran the teleprompter and witnessed the whole broadcast letter by letter, had also been responsible for the script that morning. Christine’s oblivious grin could have been all her fault. It was going to be so nice outside. Sunny, seventy degrees, and soaked with the blood of seven local teenagers.
“This is just like the twelve-car pileup of ’03,” Hamilton recalled. “It was a beautiful June day. Five people were killed. If it hadn’t been for a prompter malfunction, she would have smiled through that one, too.”
Angela’s intestines filled with acid as her mind raced. A dozen different apologies popped up in her head, but none of them seemed believable.
We apologize for the inappropriate delivery of this tragic news. Our news anchor, New York Emmy-winner Christine Spencer, lacks a central nervous system…
…is currently in the midst of a Botox-related lawsuit…
…thought it was about a movie…
…is a secret member of the MS-13 gang and considered this heinous crime a victory…
“It’s so beautiful outside! I’m going to order Chipotle! Does anyone want anything?” Christine popped her head back into the studio, chirping the most politically incorrect lunch proposition anyone could have imagined. Everyone politely declined the offer with vague murmurs. Except for Brad, the camera guy, who passed Christine a post-it with his burrito-filled desires written on it. He couldn’t look her in the eye, but if someone was going to Chipotle, he wasn’t going to turn it down no matter how bad it looked.
“Hey, it’s not like she laughed.”