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The Editor: A Shaggy Dog Story

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Father Goose Offshoots". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: A shocking exposure of the sordid underbelly of the fanfic industry...... or, How far will some people to go to make a lame joke about a pet peeve? Far. Very far.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Lou GrantlitmouseFR1812,1272102,14820 Mar 0720 Mar 07Yes
A/N: The BTVS verse belongs to Joss Whedon, Lou Grant belongs to… the past, and someone not me. Thus I disclaim.

TIMELINES:

BTVS: Summer 2007

Set in the Father Goose verse unless proven otherwise by tales yet untold.

Post-Chosen, BTVS/Angel are canon as broadcast, post TV comics, novels etc. produced by Whedon et al cordially ignored.


LOU GRANT: moved to accommodate BTVS timeline, pre actual show, Lou’s star reporter has not yet come to work for the Tribune





The Editor: A Shaggy Dog Story












The Editor was not a nice man. Every once in a while someone told him so and he would simply point at the sign on his door. It said “EDITOR.”

“So what the fuck did you expect you #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% moron,” he would say.

There were a lot of reasons the Editor was not a nice man. Genetics would be most people’s first guess and no one’s saying they’re wrong. But he himself felt he was over-worked and underpaid and he could make a case.

Some la-di-da editors made six figure salaries getting out one glossy rag a month, mostly re-running the same how to lose xx pounds in xx days and xxx ways to better orgasms articles over and over. All they had to do was change the xxx’s, put a picture of a different half-naked bimbo on cover and run off a few million copies and do it again next month.

While he put out five, sometimes more titles a week. And just because his larger print runs ran in the hundreds rather than millions didn’t make his job any easier.

His titles included such lucrative items as the White Wicca Whisper, The Supernatural Times, the Demon Spotter’s Monthly Report, Blood, Bones and Bile (at least ten new recipes every month), The Skrell-nic!-Nic!t Annual, Vampire!, Undead Quarterly, Slayerwatch and so on, not to mention the fiction titles, David Nabbit Presents True Tales of the Odd, DemonLove, Fantasy Most Foul.

Just because you only sold a few hundred copies didn’t mean you could cut any corners with the copy. If People wrote an article about Angelina Jolly adopting a kid, the worst thing they had to fear was a stern letter from a publicist and a bit of mockery.

Write that some vampire was three hundred and twenty years old when actually she was only three hundred and ten and you had to carry a foot-high cross and a Super-Squirter full of holy water wherever you went for the next two weeks and didn’t that get you funny looks down at the pub.

The Editor had once spent two hours contemplating his root system and developing a true hatred of woodpeckers just because some reporter thought the world’s most powerful witch was Pillow Rosenburg.

It wasn’t just the demons and the vamps. Write that the Slayers Tracy and Taariq had cleared a vamp nest in Pasadena in 2005 when it was actually slayers Shadow and Caridad in 2006 and first the letters would start and then the phone calls and then angry groups of unemployed Ph.D.’s picketing the office until Slayerwatch printed a retraction in 36 point bold on the front page.

Most of his reporters were semi-amateur stringers and obsessed wingnuts who provided his material more because they couldn’t help themselves than for the pittance he paid them. This didn’t stop him from yelling and screaming and generally abusing them, it just meant that it didn’t do much good, they were mostly already doing the best they could. Certainly they took the copy a lot more seriously than he did. So in many ways his life depended on his fact-checking/copy-editing department which consisted of a fluctuating cast of burnt out never-was’ers and recent J-school grads who spent all their time making lists of infra dig jobs that paid better than entry-level journalism, like janitor and used car salesman and chicken inspector.

If he’d had a lot of money to coddle them with coffee and comfy chairs and so on, he would have done so. But there was nothing in the budget for such niceties so he made do with riding their asses just as hard as he could. Oh, they’d get all upset and quit, if a week went by without at least one of the whiny bastards stomping out declaiming loudly that he or she would commit suicide or even get a real estate license before dotting one more i for that #$%#$ &*^&%$# he'd know he'd been slacking off.

But they always came back. Once you had Sprites and Spectres Illustrated on your resume your employment opportunities were limited. Of course no one was stupid enough to actually put any of the Editor’s titles on their actual resumes, but word got around. So they came back. Conveniently, since they’d quit, he took them back as new employees, at entry-level pay, which suited the budget nicely. Technically speaking, just at the moment, while a few poor souls had actually worked in the office for several years, the summer intern was senior man on the staff.

The Editor was not a nice man, but he was not an idiot. He understood that mistakes were made. What got to him was when the same mistakes were made over and over and over. And sometimes…. Sometimes he just had to vent.

Her name was Billie Newman, she had an untamed mop of curly red hair, tended toward plaid flannel in her wardrobe choices and the Editor figured at the big dance you could find her in the corner behind the wall-flowers, none of which mattered to him in the slightest. What mattered to him was that not only had she made not one, but two of the oft-repeated errors that flamencoed on his last nerve, she had put them both in the first sentence of the lead.

The Editor had vented.

“ Dumb #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% stupid #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% moron #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% airhead #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% idiot #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% addle-pated #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% lazy #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% po-faced #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$### # %^&% you,” he’d said.

She’d left in tears. Now she was back, her jaw clenched, her shoulders hiked up, her eyes wide, looking like a mousy wallflower with a serious bitch on.

She slammed a disk down on his desk along with a copy of the article that had set him off.

“Play it,” she said.

“What…” he started.

“Play it.” So he leaned over, slipped the disk in the player, found the remote and turned the TV monitor on. The scene began to play.

First there was a shaky closeup of some dirt, then some wildly swinging bits of scenery and a giggle and then the camera was stabilized and showed a panorama of reddish desert at either dusk or dawn, depending on which direction the camera was pointing. The camera panned left and revealed a dusty camouflaged hummer with a very large gun mounted on the back. The camera moved forward and around the vehicle to reveal three men squatting around a campfire, they were wearing jeans and denim jackets but when they stood their military background was obvious in their boots and bearing. The coffee pot suggested that the light was of the early morning variety.

“How the hell did you find us?” the tallest of the men asked.

“Just followed the gunfire Agent Finn,” a voice behind the camera said.

The man shrugged, smiled wryly. “Yeah, well, they don’t make a silencer for the Bushmaster.”

“So, what are you shooting at?”

“Little red devils. Just cleaning up a little corporate mess.”

“Graham.”

“What, Ri? Why should we cover for these assholes? I don’t know, maybe it was before your time but back in the day animal testing was all in the headlines. Lots of protest. Blinding cute little bunnies to test make-up and all that?”

“Yes,” said the voice behind the camera.

“Well, this one outfit decided that no one was gonna picket them for experimenting on demons. And so, don’t ask me how, they did some cross-breeding or gene-splicing or something and they came up with a species of demon they could run tests on. They made them albino, so they were like a blank slate. So they’d paint them and dye them and whatever and if something burned, well the demons are tough and they healed, and did it all again. But they made the same mistake those people always make when dealing with demons.”

“Which is….?”

“They forget demons aren’t just weird animals. It was just a matter of time. They escaped. So all of a sudden there are fifty demons with a make-up fetish and a long suppressed appetite for fresh baby fillets running around. What these things do, they can move really fast and they can hold really still. So what they’d do, they’d raid a department store, or a box store, but they prefer the high end stuff. Anyway, they hit the make-up counters, paint themselves up to match the local color scheme so they could almost hide in plain sight …. You know, browns and greens in Portland, gray when they were in Seattle..."

"To cut to the chase, the company, finally, called us in. We traced them here. And then, and here’s why we get the big bucks. Because Ri is genius, we went to every department and big box store in Flagstaff and even over in Winslow and added our own special ingredient to all the desert colored, mostly light reds around here, make-up they had. Tell’em, Ri.”

“It glows in the dark,” the tall man said with an only slightly smug smile.

“So last night, we had our very own shootin’ gallery. See a flash of pink and pop’em.”

“How many did you get?”

“Oh… Hell, I don’t know, Graham, did you keep count?”

“Yeah, sorta, I scratched a little notch on Betsy there for each hit.”

“Graham…”

“Yeah, yeah, I know you hate that but a man’s gotta do….… ain’t my fault I’m slinging a gun I can’t carry. Those little bastards are tough. Hit’em with a rifle they just keep coming, but a 25mm armor piercing round puts them down hard.”

“So, how many?”

The camera followed as Riley sighed and clambered up onto the hummer and began peering at the big gun….

“A little farther back,” Graham called out. Then Riley nodded and started counting.

He finished and called down, “Twenty four.”

The still enraged copyeditor reached over and stopped the video.

“Yeah?” the Editor said. “So?”

Newman gave a little scream of frustration. “So?!” she said. “So?!”

She picked up the hardcopy and waved it in his face.

“You read one sentence of this article and screamed at me for ten minutes. You used words I cannot even pronounce. And that one sentence,” she read aloud,

“Demon hunter Riley Finn reports that, according to the cannon, twenty-four rouge demons were killed last night in the Arizona desert.”

“…is not only factually accurate, all words are used precisely and correctly according to their accepted definitions and spellings.”

“Oh,” the Editor said. “I see. Why didn’t you just say so?”

“What!?”

“Anything else?” The Editor looked back at the article on reported Fyarl mating habits he was trying to cut down from thirty thousand to fifteen hundred words. He heard a noise and looked up. She was still staring at him. “You weren’t expecting a #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$## apology, were you?” he said.

“I quit,” she screamed. “I quit I quit I quit. Tomorrow I’m going to come back and quit some more!”

The Editor punched the button on his intercom, said “Martha?”

“Yes?”

“Newman’s quit again. Make sure to note that, as of …. What time is it?”

“Four thirteen, sir.”

“As of four-fifteen she’s off the clock.”

“You’re giving me two minutes severance pay?” Newman said.

“You quit. Lucky to get anything.”

She made it to the door before she sagged and began to cry.

“Oh god,” she moaned. “I’ll never get out of here. No one will ever hire me. I’ll be correcting misspelled Fyarl names ‘til I die….”

This went on for some time. The Editor sighed. He wasn’t a nice man. But he wasn’t evil, either. He pulled a three by five card out of his desk, wrote down a name and address.

“Hey, Newman,” he grumped. She looked up and he tossed her the card.

“The LA Tribune?”

“Tell Lou to say hi to Madam Dorion and to give you a job. Just promise me one thing. Be very very annoying when you’re there, okay? Think you can do that for me?”

“Of course, … I …. I don’t know what to say.”

“Say goodbye you #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$## moron by before I change my #^#%&* #%^*&% # #$## mind,” the Editor said.


-30-

-A/N: Sorry. Had to get it out of my head.

A/N: You understand, I can writes thise because I never make any typos or other snupid misnakes, myself, personnelly.

The End

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