The wooden staircase was narrow with peeling paint. As I climbed to the second floor of the Gardena Valley News, the clacking of typewriters grew louder. Nervous, I slowed down, my hand on a railing sticky with grime. Dressed in a peasant blouse and knee-length skirt, a tie-dye bag over my shoulder, I gulped a few breaths.
I was twenty-seven now, a California girl fresh off the beach. I mean literally. That morning I'd jogged in the shallow waves between the Hermosa and Manhattan Beach piers, a mile each way, then had gone swimming in the cool salt water. My hair was long and sun-bleached.
|always a beach girl|
"What is it?" he shouted over the noise.
Still nervous, I walked over to his desk. A Teletype machine on a nearby table chugged like an engine, so loud, I yelled, "I want to be a reporter!"
John's fingers were stained with nicotine, his hands shaky. "So what's your experience?"
"None, really. Well, I like people."
He looked at me in disbelief while I jabbered about my journalism class and blabiddyblabla how all my life I'd wanted to write stories.
I was still blathering when he turned to his typewriter. Without looking at me he said, "There's a parade Saturday, downtown Gardena. Bring me a story. If it's printable, you'll get ten bucks and a byline."
Ten dollars? And my name would be in the paper? I would nail this!
From BLUE SKIES: ONE AUTHOR'S JOURNEY, to be published this Fall.