Note for DST Players
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February 18th, 1999
London Times, Fleet Street

    "You want me to what?" Mattie just failed to keep her tone less than one of shouted belligerence. It was one of those moments when she wished she could grab her editor by the collar and throttle him. She thought he had just called her in for a briefing - a regular ritual during her flying visits to London - and her editor had the nerve to drop this hand grenade in her lap. With all of her other tasks - most of them unknown to the staff of the Times - she didn't particularly want to be saddled with busy work.

    The editor facing an incipient throttling was Edward Bennet. He was a laconic man, used to jouralistic - and journalist's - histrionics. Ignoring her tone, he patiently repeated himself.

    "You heard me. Sunday features are doing a bit on Francis Urquhart. Y'know, 'five years on, quiet reflection' and all that…"

    "Time to suck up to the Tories again, is it?" Mattie sneered.

    Again, Edward ignored the jibe. "Always a good idea to make the opposition happy, every now and then." He shrugged.

    Mattie stifled a grumble. She knew he was right, but she didn't have to like it.

    "What's your problem, anyway?" Edward asked easily. "You've just got to throw in a bit about covering him during his climb up the greasy pole. No big deal."

    Again, Mattie bit down on her irritation. Not a big deal if you don't know the truth, she thought bitterly.

    "There's no problem." Mattie sighed, a little theatrically. "I guess I'm still a bit pissed about how he dropped my coverage like a hot potato once he reached Number Ten." Would-be-murders don't like to socialize with their victims, she didn't add, but she hoped the public reason would cover her massive irritation.

    Now Edward showed a little surprise - and contempt. "Bloody hell, Mattie. That was years ago. Get over it, will you?"

    Mattie scowled, not willing to admit that he had a point. "Well," she replied gracelessly. "it was the first time I'd received that treatment…" she admitted, hoping that would explain her lingering resentment.

    "A journalist's lot is not a happy one." Edward replied roughly, not particularly caring about a years-old bruise to somebody else's ego. "And let me warn you that writers who blow off their editor's assignments are even unhappier than that." He added darkly. "Get it?"

    Mattie nodded, her expression sullen. I wonder how far I could spin it? She mused…

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