I've been fiddling about with writing a novel. One of the things I did in this process was to experiment with writing a character thread.
So here's three short scenes with Sonya Newman, a fictional reporter for Fox News:
I was once ambushed by a reporter in New Hampshire.
The video of the interview is still in the public record, but here’s how I saw it.
Governor John Andrew March of Minnesota had entered the New Hampshire primary election for the Republican nomination for the office of President. Susan, the rest of the campaign team, and myself were here to do the grunt work of political campaigning.
If you want to know what that involved, go find a copy in the archives of Take Back Your Government by Robert Anson Heinlein. At that time the originally printed copies of this manual on political campaigning being purchased by members of the Tea Party Movement for about fifty dollars each on the used book market. And no, I did not sell my copy to anyone at the time.
Apart from substituting laptop computers and ink jet printers for typewriters and mimeographs we basically followed the instructions within.
So I’m standing offstage while John is giving a speech at a local American Legion post when four people walked up to me.
The first was Sonya Newman of Fox News. In terms of appearance she came up to my eye level in high heels and had brown hair with a tendency to frizz. With her was a cameraman and a sound man, along with another young man bearing a laptop case and a clipboard, all of whom I would presume were also with Fox News.
“Miss Newman,” I said, “aren’t you supposed to be sitting behind a desk somewhere?”
“Mister Keller,” Newman responded, “I was wondering if we could ask you some questions?”
“You already are.” I said.
I could clearly see that the red light indicating that the camera was running was on. And my initial reply apparently didn’t stop Miss Newman.
“Multiple questions, sir.” She said.
“I don’t know why.” I said. “I’m really not at all comfortable doing a live interview. And by the way, I practiced that answer! And also I’m not the one running for president.”
That still didn’t stop Miss Newman.
“But you are expected to have a major role in a March Administration, sir.” She said with complete journalistic seriousness.
“Doing what?” I said. “Certainly not a cabinet post?” There’s no shortage of people who are qualified for those.”
At this point I was beginning to suspect that nothing short of the deliberate use of deadly force was going to stop Miss Newman.
“It is expected that you would serve as the White House Chief of Staff in a March Administration.” She said with continuing seriousness.
“Sonya,” I replied with a slight note of annoyance, “seeing to it that the I’s are properly dotted and the T’s are properly crossed isn’t really that big of a deal.”
And then Miss Newman said something with a slight journalistic smile.
“There are some people who say that you have undue influence on Governor March.”
“Name one.” I said.
“His sister Anne.” Miss Newman Replied.
Unlike John, his older sister Anne Elizabeth March had attended the University of Minnesota and had been successfully indoctrinated into becoming a lesbian and a Marxist agitator. The local television stations and the daily socialist rag of the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, would feature her in video or still photograph at the front of every leftist demonstration against the actions and policies of John March as the governor of the state of Minnesota.
And there was one other serious fault of character on her part.
“Sonya, are you aware of the fact that Anne March is a Truther?” I said.
“No.” She replied.
Truthers were a generally Leftist and completely insane cult that would blame any negative event, such as a terrorist attack, on a sitting Conservative administration, or any other ideological opponents in general, without any regard for the facts. To give an example, even though we were clearly and completely innocent of the act, the Cult of the Truthers were openly blaming John, Susan, and myself for the death of President Elect Sandra Chapman after the Final Election.
“Well you know,” I said, “Truthers will believe anything, except the truth.”
Sonya Newman knew dammed well that I was right. There was no way that She could use Anne March as an authority on this particular matter. I decided to go in for the kill.
“Seriously Sonya,” I said, “Governor John Andrew March is a well off and well educated gentleman, and he has a doctorate from one of those old and famous English universities, and they don’t give those things away in a box of Cracker Jacks you know.”
Newman had to nod on camera at that point.
“Now I’m just a working class slob from Nordeast Minneapolis,” I said, “and I just barely managed to finish high school.”
“Now really...” Said Miss Newman.
I interrupted her.
“Sonya,” I said, “I had to go to summer school to get the ONE credit I needed to meet the graduation requirement.”
“So you missed graduating with your class?” Said Miss Newman.
“The counselor for that class, a woman named Pomeroy, told me that I could take part in the ceremony and get a empty diploma holder.” I said. “But I decided not to do it.”
I think Miss Newman was a bit shocked to hear that.
“Why not?” She asked.
“Sonya, the choice was really simple.” I said. “I could either rent a silly costume, with money that I scarcely had, and stand outside on a hot summer day -- we had them in June in Minneapolis back then -- and listen to a member of the local socialist nomenklatura drone on and on and on about how wonderful it was to be a good socialist drone in the radiant socialist future, all in order to pretend to receive an certificate that I didn’t earn! Or, I could do menial labor for two hours at the minimum wage in air conditioned comfort.”
Miss Newman just stared at me.
“As I said,” I said, “it was an easy choice.”
The ladies at the candy shop that I worked at after school found it difficult to believe that I would make that choice.
Sonya Newman looked like I had just told her that the Virgin Mary was not really a virgin. I strongly suspect what she said next was actually spontaneous.
“You’re not running for president?” She said.
I tried to answer in the campaign mode.
“I would accept the nomination,” I said, “but John Andrew March is far better qualified than I ever will be for the office of President of the United States.”
Before Newman could say anything else I added another comment.
“And John’s family always wanted him to run for President,” I said, “they’re just really, really, really upset that he’s running as a Republican. Minnesota limousine liberals are funny that way.”
Actually they wanted their oldest son, Richard Charles March the Third, to eventually stand for that office. His premature death by a heroin overdose put a stop to that dream.
Miss Newman had recovered at this point and was back in the reporter mode.
“There are some questions about how you and Governor March became good friends for over three decades.” She said.
I immediately jumped to the conclusion that Sonya Newman was referring to the rumors of a long homosexual relationship that were running rampant in the otherwise empty heads of the Leftist Commentariat. Never mind the nice young English lady that John married in a nice English ceremony in a nice English church while he was working on his doctorate in history in England. And, of course, pay absolutely no attention to the three nice children that John and his nice English wife were raising with the assistance of their nice English governess.
But it would only take a single pinprick of truth to pop the giant bubble of falsehood.
“Sonya,” I said, “John and I met through our common hobby of war gaming.”
I was not about to mention Traveller, Dungeons and Dragons, or any other role playing game at that point.
“Seriously,” I said, “John had a small storeroom in the basement of the family home set aside for running Blitzkrieg by the Avalon Hill game company, and that was a really long and hard game to play.”
I probably shouldn’t have said that last part.
Apparently Miss Newman had not caught it or she decided not to run with it.
“So you’re saying that was it was a difficult game to play?”
“It took days to run a full game.” I replied. “And that was long before the first generation of personal computers hit the market.”
Another thing I wasn’t going to mention at that time was that John had to put a padlock on that room and restart a game after his older brother had made a mess in the room while shooting up a dose of heroin.
It was time to drop the rhetorical hammer on Newman.
“Sonya,” I said, “when an old friend offers you a job that you can do at significantly better salary than you’re already earning, you accept it. To refuse to do so is simply insane.”
“And let’s face it,” I added, “it really looks good on the resume.”
Then Newman got to her actual point.
“So what would you do if Governor Chapman receives the Republican nomination?” She said.
It was obvious that Newman was favoring Chapman at the time. During the taping of a previous interview with her Chapman had to tell Newman to stop “soft balling” her. Even though her comment was edited out of the broadcast version of the interview it somehow leaked out to a video file website. The self-styled comedians within the Leftist Commentariat were overdoing their response, with lesbian overtones, to this particular gaffe, as usual.
Since the rhetorical hammer I dropped on Newman didn’t work it was now time to drop the rhetorical sixteen-ton weight on her.
“Miss Newman,” I said, “if Governor Sandra Chapman of Alaska were to receive the Republican nomination for the office of President of the United States I would give her my full support and make every effort to see that she is elected.”
The Fox News camera did not catch the blank look that appeared on Newman’s face.
Time for the killer blow.
“And if Governor Chapman were elected I would graciously accept any position that she offered, or I would firmly recommend someone for the position who I believe is more qualified.”
I’m really sure that Miss Newman really didn’t expect that answer.
It was at this time that John had finished his speech and was shaking hands with supporters as he departed from the stage.
It was time to ditch Miss Newman.
“John!” I shouted to him. “I’ve got Sonya Newman from Fox News over here! Want to talk to her?”
John was too well practiced an actor to visibly show any sign that he really didn’t want to speak to her.
“Sure.” He said with a smile as he walked up to us.
“Seriously Sonya,” I said, “the idea that I’m the evil genius pulling the strings is simply ridiculous.”
I turned to walk away, after John took over the contact with the Fox News field team, and I saw Susan standing there.
I never noticed her listening to the conversation with Newman.
I walked up to her and gave her a really good kiss.
Any Truther watching this would, of course, openly declare that I was faking it and that I was really thinking of doing something sexual with John.
When we unlocked lips Susan asked me a question.
“You would really do that?” She said.
“Do what?” I said.
“Work for Chapman?” She said.
“Only if we had to go to Plan B.” I said.
Plan B was for John to accept the second spot on the national ballot, presumably with Governor Chapman on top.
And yes, we already got the inherent jokes from that concept out of our respective systems.
“Okay then.” She said. “So what class did you take?”
“Class?” I said.
“In summer school,” she said, “to get your diploma?”
“English.” I said. “I think I did a book report on The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, for something like the seventh time.”
I could swear that there was a deep metaphysical element to the groan that Susan gave out when I answered that question.