The editor called all the reporters and subs into his office this afternoon and said he was sick to the back teeth of our layabout attitude, that unless we pulled up our socks the paper was about to go down the tubes, and if we did not come up with at least one good lead for a story by Monday he would be docking all mobile phone and mileage claims.
‘But . . ’ I murmured, forgetting for a moment that by speaking I was laying myself open to instant ridicule. He pinned his fierce eyes on me.
‘What?’ he growled. ‘You have a problem with that?’
‘No –. . it’s just-‘
‘Spit it out!’
‘No-one told me we could claim for mobile phone calls or mileage,’ I whispered.
Someone sniggered. The editor stared at me and rolled his eyes.
‘God grant me patience,’ he muttered. ‘Get the hell out of here the lot of ye and start thinking about stories – not you,’ he added as I turned to leave. ‘I want a word with you.’
Here it goes, I thought. This is it - the end of my fledgling career.
‘What’s this about you and that giant of a garda fella?’ the editor said.
‘What?’ I gasped, face burning.
‘Ah Jesus now – there’s no need to play the innocent. Sure we all have needs.’ His eyes glinted dangerously. ‘Just keep your ears open when you’re about him. That’s all I ask.’
‘You mean . . you’re asking me to . . to get information out of him?’ I said faintly.
‘Not at all,’ he said with a Cheshire cat grin. ‘All I’m asking is that you come in here on Monday with at least one concrete lead for a front page story.’
I stumbled out of the office, too stunned to say another word.
How on earth am I going to find a lead story by Monday.