|buy prints of select halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (prints of all photographs are available upon request)||day 81
Jeremy was first with the eyewitness account of the Halfsquatch sighting in the parking lot of the Qwanlin Mall. It wasn’t a story he wanted to write, he just happened to pick up the phone when the paper’s receptionist was at. A hysterical woman shrieked into the phone about how Rebecca Richman practically attacked her and her boyfriend.
Jeremy’s first instinct was to hang up. His second was to pawn the story off on Paula, but she was on another line, chatting with Scott or Tom – one of those Toronto producer guys — about Sasquatch Summer. She’d called every day since the production wrapped, to check in, see where things were at, get a quote she’d never use.
The call from the shrieking woman reminded Jeremy that he hadn’t yet left his daily voicemail messages for Bob. He held the phone away from his ear for a moment and jotted a note down on a pad of paper that was open on his desk.
“You’re sure it was Rebecca Richman?” Jeremy asked, returning to the shrieking woman.
“Absolutely,” the woman said.
Jeremy sighed and flipped to a fresh page in his notepad.
The next morning, headline of the Reporter cried SHE’S BAAAACK! A blurry photo of Rebecca’s face smudged up against a car window – the one that the boyfriend of the hysterical, shrieking woman took with his cell phone camera — filled the entire front page.
Inside, the couple described how they felt violated and terrorized. The woman was having nightmares; she couldn’t work. The boyfriend called for the community to rally, to consider the safety of their children.
Paula was livid. Rebecca Richman was her story. And if Rebecca was back in Whitehorse she should be the one to track her down. Paula made a plea to the paper’s editor that she should be the one to chase the story and work the beat. Sure, Jeremy had taken the call from the hysterical, shrieking woman, but that was a fluke, pure luck. Editorial protocol dictated that, yes, the story was his. But, Paula argued, she’d invested so much in Rebecca. She knew the story better than anyone. She wanted it the most. “I’m not letting that goddamn Halfsquatch slip away this time,” she said.
Jeremy smirked at Paula’s unwavering zeal for a story that the rest of the media had relegated to weird-news-of-the-world status, the item television producers used for filler at the end of a broadcast.
Jeremy let Paula go on. Watching her beg for the story gave him a certain perverse pleasure. As her rant petered out, Jeremy cleared his throat and spoke up. “It’s fine. Paula can have it. I’m maxed out, with the fires and the coyotes and the crack house bust.”
The editor shook his head. “No,” he said. “I want both of you on this. And we’ll set up a tip line.”
Paula and Jeremy sulked back to their desks. They picked up their phones and started dialing, working their contacts.