Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trusting my (Reporter's) Instinct

Rule of Journalism #1: Always trust your Reporter’s Instinct.

Lately, I’ve been having doubts about my “nose for news.” My interviews all sound the same--same tried-and-true, middle-of-the-road questions, same well-rehearsed, self-serving answers, no matter who I’m interviewing. I’m covering the same kinds of stories, interviewing the same people over and over and over again. I was afraid I’d lost my edge, that maybe I’d asked and written everything I had in me. But at last, I am redeemed: my Reporter’s Instinct has not abandoned me!

Several months ago, I wrote here about my suspicions regarding one of my neighbors, whom I nicknamed The Prophet. (See “It’s always the quiet ones...”). Anyway, from the day I moved to this block, I was convinced this man was up to something. Something nefarious. Something diabolical. I thought he was some kind of cult leader or something. I still don’t know what he was doing, but I know he was doing something: a few weeks ago, the police came and took him away in handcuffs, and he hasn’t been back since. His disciples still meet at his house for their Sunday service, and a couple of them regularly spend the night. During these nocturnal gatherings, I see strange blue lights and eerie shadows, but I don’t think I want to know what they are. I’m assuming his second-in-command stepped up to fill the void, and carry out whatever sinister plan they’ve been hatching over there.

Frankly, though, I’m more concerned about the way The Prophet disappeared than I am about what he was doing. It was like something out of a movie--the police come and whisk him away, and he’s never seen again. They never searched his house, never removed any evidence. His car is still parked out front. His congregation still gathers just as nothing ever happened. Since the police took him away, it would seem he must have committed a crime. But if he committed a crime, why didn’t they search his house? Shouldn’t they have carted our dozens of little official-looking bags marked “evidence”? My lifelong obsession with mystery novels has given me no insight into this perplexing puzzle. If Miss Marple were here, she’d have this figured out before teatime.

Unfortunately, I was not written into existence by Agatha Christie, so I share none of Miss Marple’s intellect or insight. However, I do have my trusty Reporter’s Instinct, and my nose for news is working overtime on this one. With some patience and a little digging, I’m sure I can find the truth. But if I, too, mysteriously disappear, please don’t call the police. Instead, call Miss Marple. And make her a nice cup of tea.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Turning Leaves

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