“I wanted to have a private word with you about Michael Roper,” the General said. “It’s my understanding that you’ll interview him this week.”
“Yes, sir,” she replied.
She cursed herself for not reviewing her schedule before leaving the house. In her mind, she flipped through her interviews and shows planned for this week.
Who was Michael Roper?
“He’s going to tell you a story that… well, could win you a Pulitzer Prize.”
“But it’s not true?”
“No, ma’am. Michael Roper will tell you a true story and one that needs to be heard, especially at this time. However…”
The General fell silent. He seemed to be choosing his words very carefully.
“I don’t doubt that you’ll notice a few details in Roper’s story are… fuzzy.”
“Unclear. I’m certain you‘ll notice he’s covering something or possibly diverting your attention. He’s not an experienced liar. We expect you might notice areas of …”
“Michael Roper is a true hero. He saved the lives of at least seven men and possibly more. He suffered unspeakable things during his service and he has never asked for acclaim or reward. In fact, he says he was just doing his job. His story is absolutely one hundred percent true, even if the details are a little muddy.”
“You’re asking me to broadcast untruths?” Her voice betrayed her indignation.
The General stopped running. The group of men and dogs stopped running. A bird’s call broke the sudden silence in the lane. He turned to look at her.
“No, I am asking you to treat a true hero with the respect he deserves. He’s not a public speaker or even a very good poker player. He’s too straight of a guy. His story is true and deserves to be heard.”
“And these details?”
“You’re saying he’s been coached. I’ll notice the coaching because he’s such a straight forward guy.”
The General started running again. They ran in silence while she processed his request.
“I won’t throw national security at you. However I would not ask if people’s lives were not at stake,” he said. “We can pull the interview. There was a suggestion to disrupt the satellite feed during your transmission of the show. A few well placed individuals, including myself, would like the world to hear Roper’s story.”
“With the details removed?”
“With a few details removed.”
“And the satellite feed? I don’t want to interview some guy and have it not go out.”
“A few high level people have used their authority to allow the interview with…”
“A few details removed.” She finished his sentence.
“Exactly. These people will be with Roper when you do the interview. You might notice them, but probably not.”
“If I do this, will you come on my show?” she asked. “Talk about the war? The soldiers?”
“You’ve asked before.”
“I’ve asked for five years,” she said.
“Treat Roper with the respect he deserves and I’ll seriously consider it.”
The retelling of Celia’s Puppies, Denver Cereal Volume 2, continues tomorrow…
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