Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Shot of glory

I watched the famous Phil Dareck step out of his mansion to make his routine dog walk around the posh streets of Boulevard Be, shuddering in the fierce wind as he stepped out of the warm comfort of his opulent home. He jerked up the collar of his jacket. In effect, pulling at the greyhound he had on a short leash (just like he had most of his girls). The dog yelped in protest.
‘Oh shut up Ceasar. Weather’s bad enough without you complaining.’
Someone was not in the best of moods. I closed one eye and surveyed his features through my telescope, surveyed him surveying the weather and debating if it the walk was worth it. I willed him to make the move. My future depended on it.
It was the closest I had ever been to the film star and I could make out his deep set eyes, square masculine jaw and a fine crop of hair which he had not bothered to conceal considering the weather. Underneath his thick clothing was the body of a greek god which the world had been privileged to see in many of his movies. It was no wonder why the girls could not get enough of him.
I did not particularly watch movies and had not cared for the existence of this man until it hit me how he could singularly change my miserable life.
I had dragged myself through life to this point, just managing to hang on to my job as a reporter because I had been in the same class as my editor ten long years ago. Much as I was grateful for the favour, it was also painful to watch the celebrity reporters getting the mouth watering assignments that brought them even more fame and a lot more money. If I was lucky I covered some mundane pet show that got assigned to some obscure corner of the back pages (if it ever made the news).
Maybe if there was a girlfriend waiting for me back home at the end of the day it would have been more tolerable; maybe if I had a lot of friends to hang out with sometime or my parents, when they found time to call, did not remind me of how much of a failure I was next to my younger sister who was about to head a major corporation, life might have been a tad less bitter.
I have never been psychic, nor did I believe in all that nonsense before the ‘tip off’ came to me. I was walking along the Brandon bridge I think it was, contemplating jumping off the metal railings two hundred feet down into the icy waters, to end my ‘hamster in a circle’ existence. Some wandering passerby would spot my body floating in the river, the police would be alerted and then the papers would know. The breaking news would be assigned to another hot-shot reporter who would dash to the scene to add another feather to their cap. All this whirled about in my head and as much as I wanted to jump off that bridge, I really did not want to make the day for another big reporter. Then it came to me, clear as a reflection in a wiped mirror. A celebrity was going to be shot and I would be the first on the scene. I knew the person, the place and the time. This was going to be my big break. Wondering why it had not come to me sooner I prepared, tracking poor Phil Dareck day in day out as his hour of reckoning drew ever closer. What would he have done differently if he had known he had less than a week to live? Whatever it was, his demise was going to drastically change my life. I wonder if my editor would believe in hunches and swallow the story that something in my head had told me what was going to happen. It would be safer to lie and say I had been tipped by an anonymous caller.
Phil Dereck, to my relief, decided the weather was not the worst in walking the dog. My heart thumped faster. I had never witnessed a murder but there was no backing out now. The paper would be impressed. Better assignments would come my way (who knows maybe more hunches to give me more breaking news), I know I would get more money, more recognition and one or two girls would now look my way. Just what would the parents say then huh?
From my vantage point in the tree, I could see no other person was around. Good as that was, I wondered where the ‘murderer’ would emerge from when I reported to the police.
‘’Steady on boy!’ He shouted at the excited dog. ‘Keep this up and I would take you right back.’
They were nearly under my tree. I took one quick look around. Still no soul in sight. No matter.
I steadied my aim and pulled the trigger.