Bud sat behind his ratty desk as newsroom staffers, one by one, rolled chairs into the office and made places for themselves facing him. He knew the sooner he overcame the initial jitters of introducing himself, the better for everyone. He didn't know these people, but he was pretty sure they knew him. Whispers subsided and nine people sat before him plus Karen who stood by the open door. As she swung the door closed, Bud said, "No, leave it open." She complied.
"Good morning," he said to the room with a smile, his hands folded on the desk before him. "As I'm sure you know, my name is Bordon Remmick. I've accepted the position of News Director and I'm looking forward to working with all of you." He sat silent for a moment, looking at each face, one by one. The room was absolutely still.
"It wasn't all that long ago that I sat where you are sitting. I hated the morning meeting at Kaleidoscope more than having needles in my eyes."
This elicited quiet giggles from several in the room.
"I'd like to meet each morning only with Karen, the assignment editor--Nancy, correct? --and the chief technician. Is that person here?"
A hand raised, fourth from left, back row. "Gordon Richardson here," said a 40-ish man, medium dark skin with a mustache and shaved head.
"Great, Gordon. Nice to meet you. Most days, the assignments will be obvious. Some days, they won't. But we don't need a cast of thousands to figure that out."
By now, the elephant in the room was squealing loudly. Remmick flashed a knowing grin and nodded his head ever so slightly.
"Yes," he said. "I am that guy." He scanned the room, looking for reactions. There were only fixed stares. "I'm not going to waste your time by retelling that which I am sure every one of you knows very well. I will only say that I made mistakes in a past life and I paid for them. I'm still paying for them. My life is an open book thanks to the internet and honestly, I haven't found much about me online that isn't true. As the professional, curious news people you are, I'm confident you know my whole story. I ask you for the benefit of the doubt. Judge me by what I do, not by the past. Fair?"
He didn't count the nodding heads, but it appeared that all agreed.
"OK. And now, I owe you this one opportunity to ask me whatever questions you want. After this meeting, I don't want to hear them again. So, who's first?"
He scanned the faces, some looking nervously at each other, some still riveted on him. There was still no sound emanating from any corner of the room.
"Well, let me go right to the top of my list of Frequently Asked Questions." Dead silence continued. He picked up a Sharpie that was on the desktop and held it to his mouth like a microphone.
"Mr. Remmick, do you think you might ever kill again?" His question, posed to himself, made Reg's eyes grow wider, which Remmick found amusing. He turned his body to the opposite side, grasped the Sharpie with the other hand and answered himself. "That is not my intention, no. However--" He paused and glanced at those gathered in the room and could see them lean in towards his desk. He resumed. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"
The wiry red-head squirmed in her chair, looking anxiously around at the others. She tentatively raised her hand, then immediately lowered it. Remmick looked her way, raised his eyebrows, then looked away. "Relax, people. No reason this can't be fun." His broad smile elicited relieved sighs and a couple random chuckles. "My door is always open, folks. I'm looking forward to going to work. Class dismissed."
Karen had been standing at the door the whole time as the staff filed out, pushing their chairs ahead of them.
"That wasn't funny," said Reg in a whisper to Nancy as he followed her out of the room.
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