Whats with Jim? I asked.
Hes okay, Bill said. Hes under a lot of pressure. Hes married with two kids.
Wow, I said. Hes young.
Bill nodded, And he cares so much about the paper.
Hows your story coming? I asked.
Im done, he said.
Ive been done for a couple of hours. I have a date tonight and I want to leave early. Im going to hand my story in last and hope Jim wont have anything else for me to do.
What are you typing up there? I asked in amazement.
Nothing, he said. Im just pretending.
We went back to the newsroom. Bill sat down at his desk and immediately started typing. I began to laugh.
Becky, whats going on? Gwen asked.
Bill told me a joke when we were outside, I said and I started to laugh harder.
Can I see you in the bathroom? Gwen asked.
Can I tell her, Bill? Please, I asked. If I dont tell somebody Ill burst. Gwens okay.
Bill shrugged. I told Gwen the story in the bathroom.
Bill? she asked wide-eyed. Oh, she said, thats not possible. Bills too quiet and shy to do that.
Thats what he told me, I said.
Hes not typing anything? she asked.
No, I said.
Becky, thats not possible, she said again.
We went back to the newsroom and she passed in front of his desk. Is it true? she asked.
Bill patted the pile of papers next to his typewriter, nodded his head and grinned.
She sat down. It took about a minute. The laugh started out low and got louder and louder. She almost fell out of her chair.
Jim Cassell, the editor of the Tribune, came out of his office in the back. Gwen, what is going on? he asked. I havent heard you laugh like that in years.
Can I tell him, Bill? she asked.
No, Gwen, Bill said, its my job.
Jims okay, Gwen said. We used to be reporters together. Hell enjoy this story.
Gwen and Jim went back into his office. After a minute we heard Jim ask incredulously, Our Bill?
Jim Davis looked around the room. Am I missing something? he asked.
Gwen came back out and sat down. Five minutes later Jim came out of his office into the newsroom. Hows everything going tonight, Jim? he asked.
Just fine, Jim answered. Were on the clock system tonight. I should be home by . My wife wont believe it.
I heard, Jim said. Excellent. He came to my desk. How is everything here? he asked. Do you think youll have your story done on time?
Im just fine, I said. Yes, the story will be done on time.
Very good, Jim said. Are you happy? Happy reporters make good writers.
Im very happy, I said.
Jim made his way around to every reporter making sure they were on schedule and happy. His last stop was Bills desk. Hows everything here? he asked. Do you think youll get your story done on time?
Bill looked serious. Im trying. I think I will.
Ive gained a new respect for you tonight, Jim said.
Thank you, Bill said.
But we cant have this happen too often, Jim said.
Oh no, absolutely not, Bill said.
Good luck on getting your story done, Jim said.
Im typing as fast as I can, Bill said.
Jim went back into his office. We heard a roar of laughter.
I told you, Gwen said to Bill.
Am I missing something? Jim asked.
The evening proceeded smoothly and Jim Davis was so happy he even said thank you as the reporters brought him their stories on time.
At exactly , Bill stood up and walked to Jims desk with his story. He yawned. Im a little tired tonight, he said. I hope you dont have anything else for me. I would like to go home and go to bed.
I think were in good shape, Jim said. You go on home.
Jim yelled from his office in the back, You get a good nights sleep, Bill.
Jim looked confused. Am I missing something? he asked.
Both Jims were at Jim Daviss desk as I was leaving. I said to Jim Cassell, I hope everythings okay. He told me and I just had to tell Gwen.
I earned a new respect for that young man tonight, Jim said.
I nodded. It was a stunning performance.
Jim flung his arm into the air, Worthy of an Oscar, he said.
Jim Davis was looking from one of us to the other in confusion.
As I was leaving, Jim Cassell was putting his arm around Jim Daviss shoulder. Jim, he said, youre going to enjoy this story.
COMING NEXT THE SKIRT RIDE-UP PROBLEM?