Old News is Yesterday’s News.
January 11, 2016
I SAT IN A SMALL ROOM with a small boy.
He was twelve
I was hurting.
He had killed his brother.
I was a reporter.
He was the oldest, he said.
He was the forgotten child, he said.
Little brother made people laugh.
His mother told him to stop making a fool of himself.
He only wanted his mother’s love.
She only had enough for one of the brothers.
She doted on the younger.
Well, he said, that wouldn’t happen anymore.
I waited for him to cry.
I waited for him to say he was sorry.
He ended his brother’s life.
His had pretty much come to a dead end as well.
It was a big story at the time.
It made the front page.
Everybody talked about him.
Sad story, they said.
Tragic story, they said.
It shouldn’t have happened, they said.
It happens every day, I told them.
Somebody craves what he doesn’t have.
Somebody demands love.
Somebody is ignored.
Somebody is ignored once too often.
It’s the story of the times.
In Fort Worth, everyone felt bad for a little boy, the living and the dead.
He was never famous.
But he was known.
He was the best-known twelve-year-old in town.
Then another newspaper hit the streets.
Two men were dead in a bar north of town.
One was a politician.
The other was a two-bit criminal with blood on his hands.
What were they doing together in a bar after midnight?
It was big news.
The story was splashed across the front page.
I wrote it.
There they lay, two men from the opposite sides of town.
One on the run.
What brought them together?
Find out, my editor said.
Why were they killed?
Was a woman involved?
Was it blackmail?
Who did they make mad?
Who was mad enough to kill them?
My editor leaned back in his chair.
He lived for days like this.
He loved to see the powerful fall.
He loved to see the rich compromised.
He made his living off the mistakes of others, and there was always a mistake happening or about to happen.
A gunshot or two only made it better.
What about the little boy?
That’s the question I asked.
What about him?
That’s the question my editor asked.
You still want a follow up story?
My editor shrugged.
He’s not news anymore, he said.
Time passes quickly in a big town, usually from one edition to the next.
He was the forgotten child again.
In my novel Secrets of the Dead, almost everyone, good or bad, lives in the shadows.