Having been weened off of the press releases at around 10ish, Mike asked if I fancied a bit of ‘hard news’.
No pun intended I promise you.
I eagerly agreed, as I was keen to get my teeth into a tough bit of news before my placement was up.
I was briefed by Mike, who’d received reports of some vandalism attacks on the town centre at night by a group of youths, and headed down to the indoor market where the supposed attacks had taken place.
Having headed down there in search of the ‘Manager’, I was disappointed at first to find that he was in Rugeley for the day. However, the local tradespeople were more than willing to talk away.
Apparently, some youths had taken an angle grinder to the metal shutters of the indoor market last week.
Now I’m not being funny, but:
1) how the hell did they get an extension lead long enough to power it in the first place without anyone noticing a few miles of cord through the town centre
2) why would you try to gain access to a market thats most expensive purchase is a ‘short back ‘n’ sides’..?
3) OH WHY. WHY. WHYYYY DELILAH?!
A potentially-juicy story was rapidly drying-out by the minute. My story wouldn’t stand without some sauce.
Suddenly a Golem-like creature reared his head in interest at the smoke-filled conversation I was having with the chain-smoking tradeswomen.
I spotted that he sported a florescent yellow blazer with the council logo on.
I took my chance.
He didn’t take much questioning to get the full details.
Apparently incidents like this happen all of the time. Only the week before, the butchers near to the market had been raided.
But what was mot interesting of all was his experience earlier this week , when he found a drug user slumped up the stairway into the nearby multi-storey, overdosed and minutes from death.
Mike was going to love this.
My ‘story sensor’ was going haywol. I knew I had to get as much information out of him as possible in order to make what he was saying to me both legible and usable.
He reminded me of the sketch Peter Kay does of the ‘eyewitness of the robbery of a jewelry store’:
“It were midnight, when I saw a group of men leave the store and get into the getaway car.”
“I thought it were strange they were wearing ski masks … as it were the middle of summer. ”
Having managed to get enough information from the more than helpful Cannock folk, I made my way back to the office where I relayed the story back to a beaming Mike.
Having just let the words ‘near to death’ from my mouth he said: “I love it.”
“You need to get in touch with the Council. Police. Butchers…”
As I scurried away to grab a pen and paper he had already coined a headline…
I headed back into the throng on lunchtime shoppers and to the butchers in question, where I spent a good hour or so chatting to the man who had been broken into three times in the last 18 months.
I really empathised with the man who obviously only wanted to run a peaceful pork empire, but the trouble was getting worse.
He blamed the lack of metal shutters and pedestrianisation of the town…
I blamed shooting intruders on your property being deemed illegal, and the breakdown of compulsory National Service.
Having left with more than enough information to sketch out my article I headed back to the office.
I reeled back by findings. Again Mike seemed keen.
“I love it.”
“It may even make front page.”
It was a good job I was sitting down.
After the news had sunk in, I was determined to make the ‘exclusive’ as best as I could.
But before I headed off in search of a member of the Council that wasn’t sunning themselves on an extortionately-priced yacht, docked from the bank of their moat, Mike had already thought of an alternative headline…
“Top town butcher calls for crime to get the chop!”