Ed stretched as the commercial break started and the lights dimmed slightly. He was on a roll, roaring about Christmas trees and the sanctity of Christ's birth and how holy this time of the year was.
He didn't say it, but he left an inference that it was all the Jews fault for making up Hanukkah, and then the Muslims came up with Ramadan, and the blacks had Kwanzaa...he hated anything that didn't smack of pure Christian thought and belief.
He glanced over at Barbara, who was studying her clipboard and jotting down segment air times for archiving later. She was gorgeous. A great body, luscious lips, and a face that he pictured many times under his shower head, as he peered down at her, her ebony face bobbing up and down on his knob. Too bad she was happily married, not that he hadn't come up with a plan for that.
It was her kid, Timmy, that was the real obstacle. Timmy was born when Barbara was still struggling to get a handle on this job. NewsNet, as a fledgling network, had hired her out of a halfway house for women coming off welfare. She fought her way up the ladder as promotions came fast and furious in the first years, people leaving because, well, it was NewsNet and you couldn't have that scum staining your skin for too long.
Subsequently, because she was making a bare minimum wage when he was born, the doctors really didn't pay much attention to him. She couldn't afford the insurance premiums at NewsNet, and her Medicaid had been cut off when she started working. Timmy had a degenerative spinal condition that required draining weekly. He'd never grow tall and handsome like she'd hoped he would and needed constant attention.
Her husband had been a saint about it when they first met, and it was for this reason she gladly married him after a year. Between the two of them, they made enough to afford some of the things Timmy needed, but never enough of what he would truly need: time with him, and comfort.
Sadly, even this latest job, with its glittering title and high profile, was still underpaid by a lot, and try living in the city! But they had to, for her job but also for Timmy. The commute to the doctors would have killed him.
Ed briefly imagined what it would be like if Timmy had died, would he be able to make his move, but this ashamed even his jaded appetites, so he quickly rearranged his papers and began to focus on the next story, the recap of the year.
Family values, dammit! That's what sold his radio program. He spent many years out in the wilderness, just one of the pack of talking heads, railing on about this politician, that corrupt program, but once the Clinton/Lewinski affair took full bloom, his career began its upward arc. It was much more fun to gossip and slander, and it made for better television. Too, it allowed Hughes to bring the token defender of Clinton onto his show, and shut him up as a "soft-headed liberal."
His audience got the vicarious thrill of telling a tree hugger to stop preaching and leave them and America alone! And ever since then, any scandal that could in anyway be tied to the "liberal agenda"-- gay marriage, abortion, husband killing wife, woman abandoning her children-- he would take a potshot at liberals. Family values was his ticket.
He ought to know about family values, too. "I raised two sets of kids and one stepson in my three marriages! I know what holds a family together!" As they were coming out of break, he found an item to pin the recap segment on, and scribbled a few last minute notes. He knew Barb would be furious, but fuck her. That's what she gets for spurning him ten years ago.
"And now, the year in review. And what a year its been. If I told you that a Congressman's inability to keep from liberal temptation would change the entire course of the nation, you'd never believe me, and yet, that's precisely what Mark Foley's weakness has done..."
Ed droned on through his copy, but there was a spark in the back of his mind that caught a piece of a fleeting memory and began kindling his neurons. Christmas. Tonight was Christmas Eve. He'd go home, put on his robe, sit down in front of the television with a glass of whiskey, and relax in the blissful comfort of solitude. He didn't need anyone around him to have a good time. All he needed was a good book and some scotch, and he'd be fine. But it wasn't always like this. When Jack Marley was alive, he and Ed would hit the town any night, even Christmas Eve, and manage to find a party, where some bimbo would give it up.
Hell, it was how he met his third wife, and he's still paying child support to prove it!
"...finally, no review of 2006 would be complete without a look at the situation in Iraq. Folks, we're not far from winning this war. Yes, the insurgency is still active, but this is merely people who have had no power for decades jockeying for position to divvy up the spoils of their oil fields once those become active again! We shouldn't abandon the root cause of trying to bring democracy to a people who so richly deserve it after all we've done to them. I mean, for them."
Where the hell did THAT come from?
To Chapter Three